4. Blockchain and Smart Contracts
If you work in the financial services industry, you've probably heard a lot about blockchain. It's the underlying technology for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, but it could have much broader implications for enterprises and the economy as a whole. In fact, James Wester, research director at IDC Financial Insights, said that blockchain "represents a complete shift in the way electronic transactions have been handled for decades, and participants in the market should begin thinking about how they will adapt to it."
Blockchain could enable smart contracts that transfer money from one account to another as soon as certain conditions are met. For example, if your company had a smart contract with a supplier, that contract would deliver funds directly from your account to the supplier's account as soon as goods were delivered without any need to go through a bank, credit card company or other intermediary. There are lots of other potential uses for this technology as well, but enabling them will require organizations to redesign many existing systems, processes and applications.