Digital transformation has become a key business term in recent years and many businesses are rushing to get onboard this technological train. But which key trends will be the driving force behind this change in the next few years?
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation (also known as DT) describes the application of digital technologies to business processes, assets and products. Businesses can benefit greatly from digital transformation as it is one of the major factors in driving innovation and growth, as well as improving efficiency and driving ROI across all sectors.
To boost your understanding of digital transformation strategy, and how you can use it to drive your business towards success, PragmatiQ Solutions, experts in field service software, have researched the five key trends that will drive digital transformation in 2018.
How will digital transformation help your business?
Digital transformation has become vital for businesses who need to stay ahead of the competition. Business-decisions made today will pave the way for our future generations, and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface.
Digital Transformation in 2018
Forward-thinking companies and experts are fully aware that development processes, business practices, IT infrastructure, and technologies such as machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) are vital to digital innovation in 2019.
Here are the five key areas that businesses should consider when building their digital transformation strategy:
1. The convergence of machine learning and the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is likely to remain one of the main talking points for IT business experts, especially with the number of connected devices on track to exceed 11 billion. However, IoT alone is not truly transformational. According to Maciej Kranz, VP of Strategic Innovation at Cisco Systems, IoT needs to be combined with key technologies such as machine learning to truly make the desired business impact. The convergence of these technologies means companies will see a higher return and increased value from their IoT investments and will begin to overcome the barriers that previously hindered adoption, including security, bandwidth and data analytics challenges.
Businesses with a solid investment in the IoT will find it valuable to view these insights in real-time, so they will have to work to create networks that can move large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. This is a factor as to why we’ve seen so many companies rush to build out their 5G networks. In addition, with IoT devices deployed across a myriad of locations, data needs to be processed beyond a centralized server – that’s where the growing development of the Cloud and Edge computing systems really start to come to the fore for leading digital businesses.
2. Prioritizing the user experience
Today’s most intelligent digital platforms are able to provide the user with all of the relevant information in a format which is easy to understand and digest. Great websites and apps create an intuitive experience that reduces friction and saves user’s valuable time.
Although users may forget some of the finer details of their experience with an application, they are highly likely to remember how they felt when using it. Well-considered User Experience (UX) design inspires and delights and makes an impact on how the user feels when engaged with your technology. This is crucial for turning a one-time user into a life-long customer and advocate of your company.
This year, IT departments need to venture outside their traditional comfort zones to improve current user interface (UI) across all digital platforms and prepare for the daily use of increasingly complex processes. Accelerating these changes and acting now will support the process of digital transformation and allow companies to focus on the significant challenges of competing in the evolving digital economy.
3. The growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence
With a growing amount of data being gathered by the Internet of Things, businesses have been turning towards AI and machine learning to analyze and process the information. Machine learning isn’t just a nice-to-have in 2019 – it’s a must-have. It’s the only way companies can make valuable sense of the flow of data ready at their fingertips. Insights-driven companies must understand, however, that AI is not a plug-and-play approach. Integrating this technology with current systems requires a strategic approach covering planning, deployment and strict governance.
If your business doesn’t have a machine learning strategy in place just yet, it’s likely to be on the cards in the very near future. Forrester predicts up to 80% of companies will rely on ‘Insights-as-a-Service’ in some capacity in 2019.
4. Digital Reality will become an essential conversion tool for businesses
Digital Reality (a combination of immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality) will provide us with intuitive experiences which enhance our daily lives. In the imminent future, our means of interacting with digital information will likely no longer be screens and hardware, but will instead rely on actual gestures, emotions, and gazes.
We can expect to see huge growth and increased usage of both AR and VR, particularly within industries which have been slower to adopt them. As analytics improve and the tangible results of these immersive technologies become measurable, business leaders will see Digital Reality as less of an outsider technology and more of an essential engagement and conversion tool.
Small businesses could be set to save time and financial investments by taking their business into the virtual space. In an article published by Goldman Sachs research business unit leader, Heather Bellin states that Digital Reality technologies have the potential to transform how we interact with almost every industry today. She continues, it will be equally transformative both from a consumer and an enterprise perspective.
5. A united digital vision across organizations
As digital transformation continues to grow and help businesses, we predict that organizations will fully embrace the need for these new advancements. Driving digital change, however, is no small feat and requires fostering a culture of testing and collaboration that holds all business leaders (and employees) accountable for the overall digital vision.
It is vital that leaders across all sectors embody the attributes that they wish to see in their own employees; creativity, innovation, inquisitiveness, team spirit and digital championing. Business leaders must release control and embrace the power of digital, only then will a workplace truly transform. Every business will start thinking as a digital business, and as Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella puts it:
“Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you and your employees thinking of your own future as a digital company.”
By creating an ecosystem that restructures how you operate and compete, digital transformation brings limitless potential to empower employees and boost customer engagement to drive ROI for the company as a whole. Digital transformation and all the areas it embodies is the driving force for companies to establish themselves as a disruptive force in their industry.
Author: Natasha is a digital marketer from Newcastle Upon Tyne who specializes in writing insightful business-focused articles.