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2018 is going to be the year of transformation, and companies will look to make sense of where, why, and how technology fits into it all. These transformative processes and practices will hit critical mass, and if left on the back burner, you may be left struggling against your competition. Place them on your radar for the new year, and you'll create a cultural shift within your company that will allow you to innovate and power through all of your projected tech goals and beyond.

1. Startup Economy

2018 will be the year to get involved in what's going on in your community with tech startups. Although some critics have argued that the startup economy is one big bubble and that are becoming more and more discerning about where they invest their money, it's not necessarily a negative thing.

It should be comforting to know that 75% of the largest private tech-company financings ever were made in the past five years, and the number of startups raising funding has more than doubled since 2009. Barry Schuler, a managing director of the venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, noted that this is business as usual: 'This is late-stage venture capital doing exactly what it was created to do -- keep risky companies out of the public markets,' he says. 'The people who stand to get hurt are the people in the business of getting hurt.'

What does this mean for your 2018 tech plans? Get involved, make connections, and learn more about what's going on in your local tech startup community. As the startup industry becomes saturated, fewer companies will look for funding and will begin to form alliances with companies looking to utilize their tools and ingenuity.

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2.Transformative Technologies

Start thinking about how to turn toys into business opportunities. Augmented reality, and virtual reality are all starting to slowly become critical to the way companies leverage tech, not only regarding marketing but in the way they do business as well.

Major companies such as HP will use AR in practical applications to help with tasks like printer cartridge replacement. Apple CEO Tim Cook has even called AR a “core technology” and Lowes, IKEA, and Houzz have all leveraged Apple’s ARKit to create new customer tools and channels.

As a 'core technology,' AR and VR are certain to transform not only the way customers interact with companies and products, but the way companies interact with each other and within themselves. Because of the fact that the technology is still new, companies should invest in quality, comprehensive development and training in these transformative technologies in 2018 to stay ahead of the game.

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3.Digital Transformation

User experience (and UX designers), IoT, big data, and smart machines were all big players in regard to digital transformation in 2017. As the landscape continues to change, can you really afford to play catch up with your competition or do you want to differentiate?

Analytics will continue to drive the digital transformation, and you must close the gap between what a customer expects and what your company delivers. Understanding what your customers want and reducing the transit time in delivering that to them will be crucial in 2018.

To be successful, you need to meet the user expectations companies such as Amazon, Uber, Microsoft, IBM, SAS, and SAP have all set. And, you know what they have in common? They're all heavily investing in analytics, and they see the benefits of using analytics to better serve users and to gain comprehensive business insights across a variety of industries and applications.

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