A bet is a choice. But in business, the stakes are much higher than in an average poker game—market position, brand and reputation, shareholder value, and customer loyalty are all on the line. Yet the potential payoff can be immense: leapfrogging competition, delighting customers, and even driving progress on world challenges like climate change, sustainable urbanization, and public health.

None could be more evident than the gamble companies often take with technology-oriented investments. Despite the significant outlays and the potential for failure, many enterprises are still staking their future on the promise of advanced technologies and massive amounts of data, making it their high-stakes game of choice. 

IBM knows something about bets. In 1964, when we introduced System/360, Fortune Magazine called it “IBM’s $5 billion gamble.” But the payoff was extraordinary. It not only changed how IBM did business but also transformed the way businesses thought about computer hardware, enabled banks to complete transactions in real-time, and even guided humankind to the moon. This is just one example in a long line of bets for IBM; every one has been a bet on human ingenuity.

As business trends increasingly reflect technology disruption in business and society, what if making seven bets could lead us to a smarter future?

Trend One: Generative AI is leading and accelerating many tech-led disruptions.

Bet One: Implement secure, AI-first intelligent workflows to run the enterprise.

Trend Two: Sustainability promises are just beginning to show progress.

Bet Two: Avoid false choices between sustainability and profit—deliver both.

Trend Three: Every product is becoming a digital product.

Bet Three: Invest as much in your software supply chain as in your physical supply chain. 

Trend Four: Experience matters more than we think.

Bet Four: Apply design leadership to change every aspect of the enterprise.

Trend Five: The pragmatic metaverse will enhance the physical world, not replace it.

Bet Five: Invest now in augmented reality (AR) solutions with clear benefits.

Trend Six: Re-globalization, re-skilling, and new partnerships are transforming value chains.

Bet Six: Simplify, digitize, and partner to build a resilient enterprise.

Trend Seven: Skills scarcity and demographic shifts are defining the new social contract.

Bet Seven: Embrace a new work-life continuum in a tech-enabled workplace.

In connection with an equalizing trend that Gartner expects will reach mainstream by 2026—where 80% of software engineering organizations will establish platform teams as providers of reusable services—IBM is making yet another serious bet on platform engineering. This bet is one that will enable platform-enabled organizations to place their bets with confidence.

True strength doesn’t reside in your knowledge of what lies ahead but rather in the actions you take based on that understanding.

What trends are you following? What bets will you make? What actions will you be taking?