December marks the month that decision-makers in enterprise and industry experts traditionally start to look ahead and make predictions about the tech and IT trends that are going to shape the year ahead. This is also the time, then, when business leaders have to take stock by addressing tough investment questions and searching for emerging patterns in the hope of successfully staking out their territory in fast developing markets. As part of our ongoing look at the future of work and productivity, we’ve rounded up 6 of the tech trends that we think are going to shape the working environment in 2016.

  1. Further investment in the workplace to attract the best talent

A quick search for the ‘end of the office’ will turn up plenty of relevant results. There’s no question that technological change has increased the scope of productivity, making work more flexible and moving it away from traditional workspaces. But that’s not to say there isn’t value in investing in the workplace. For a model example, take Airbnb HQ in San Francisco. Here investment in the workplace is as much to do with brand building and attracting the best talent as it is productivity.

  1. Greater prominence of CIOs in decision-making

With cybersecurity threats dominating the headlines, an increasingly high turnover in trends and ever-shifting software environment, IT managers are having to account for less stable, and less predictable, variables. This has made the role more important than ever, with expert IT decision-makers helping firms minimize risk and gain a crucial competitive advantage.

  1. IoT driving predictive analytics

IoT devices are growing in performance and accessibility all the time. The increasing power of these devices, which range from anything from a cooker to a point of sale device, is matched by the sophistication of the algorithms being used. In 2016, businesses look set to continue developing sophisticated analytics tools to help them process the data, both prescriptive and predictive, with the aim of delivering a better customer experience and higher profits.

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  1. Cloud-based solutions for more flexible capacity

Cloud-based architecture has supported one of the dominant trends of the last few years. This influence shows no sign of dwindling in 2016, with enterprise continuing to rely on multicloud solutions to integrate mobile and Web applications with on-premises infrastructure. As well as increased capacity that can be adjusted accordingly to handle additional requests, cloud-based solutions have been proven to deliver real gains in productivity and interoperability.

  1. OS upgrades and hardware consolidation

The adoption of Windows 10 has gone well beyond a lot of people’s expectations, with figures fast approaching Microsoft’s ambitious 1bn-device target. A recent survey of IT departments found that three-fifths of respondents had already tested Windows 10, with the remaining 40% planning to do so this calendar year. Microsoft’s more flexible distribution model has meant that Windows 10 looks set to become the fastest deployed version Windows in the operating system’s thirty year history.

  1. Businesses charging ahead with wearables

Wearables are big business, and business leaders are becoming increasingly receptive to the possibilities they represent for productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Employee monitoring with wearables for example, is increasingly accepted with BP in North America using Fitbit fitness trackers as part of a wider healthcare incentive program. The viability of wearables, however, depends to a certain extent on improvements in their battery life. Expect to see more and more Qi and other wireless charging bases in workplaces in 2016.

What’s your top tech or IT trend prediction for 2016? Let us know your thoughts on the shape of the industry in the year ahead by commenting below or on our LinkedIn page.

Images via Flickr: Charis Tsevis