The 8 Most Important Technologies that Enable Transformation 


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Thursday, February 2, 2023

If you haven’t started your digital transformation journey yet, you’re missing out. These 8 crucial technologies will help you get started.

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The 8 Most Important Technologies that Enable Transformation 
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Digital Transformation (DX) is a complex term, and can mean different things across different departments of an organization. A simple definition is that:: “DX is the process of combining technology with your business processes to create superior value for your customers, stay ahead of competitors and meet your business goals and societal requirements”.

COVID-19 alone has raised many unprecedented challenges that left most businesses compelled to adapt and digitally transform. One particular impact is that it has accelerated the process of adopting digital technologies by seven years. According to IFP’s The State of Digital Transformation 2023/24 report, 46% of businesses have implemented pockets of transformation successfully, while just 16% have rolled it out company-wide and 18% have only started drawing up initial plans.

Graph illustrating which stage of the digital transformation journey respondents are at

Whether you’ve begun the transformation process, have implemented elements of change or are unsure where to start, consider these 8 must-have technologies that’ll make a positive difference to your digital transformation strategy.

The 8 technologies that enable transformation

1. Cloud computing

The cloud, be it private, public or hybrid, is the use of internet-hosted servers for the storage, management, processing and sharing of data for business users and partners. Cloud reduces the cost of capital investment in local servers, networking infrastructure and costly applications, but requires a refocusing of security on the broader IT perimeter and improved user awareness to protect the business.

Learn moreThe 6 Biggest Cloud Computing Challenges You Need to Overcome

2. Data and analytics

If the cloud represents the arteries of a digital business, data is the lifeblood. Source applications and services link together to enable analytics of ever-growing amounts of data to improve business decision-making at the strategic and operational levels. Analytics inform decision-making, streamline business processes and identify strengths and weaknesses that can remain hidden in traditional organizations. Businesses undergoing a successful digital transformation can better plan for the future. They have greater insights into their cost base, use digital to better manage staffing, customer relations, ordering and supply chains and build a better CX through data – empowering workers to focus on customer needs.

3. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents the confluence of faster, smarter networks (see 5G) and applications that leverage the data they provide to deliver actionable business insights. IoT improves the cost-effectiveness of production facilities, reducing waste and reducing process times. IoT creates greater automation opportunities and faster insights into issues, with predictive analytics addressing potential problems earlier in a process.

Learn more: 5 Ways IoT is Driving Successful Digital Transformation

4. Mobile (i.e. 5G, Private 5G and 6G)

New and upcoming 5G networks improve over 4G in many ways. They support thousands of connections per node, enabling businesses to deploy IoT devices, and reduce latency from around 50- 100 milliseconds down to 5ms - which is vital for fast-moving processes and business-critical applications like financial transactions and improving bandwidth. Private 5G networks allow a business to operate their own secure network within factories or production facilities for secure data operations.

Even as 5G continues to roll out, and the technology improves over its roadmap lifetime with improved performance and features that will enable the next generation of smart business operations (and smart cities and services that businesses can leverage), plans are in place for 6G by the early 2030s. When deployed, 6G could deliver business and societal change by, according to the IEEE, delivering AI-empowered wireless smart networks and AI-enabled methodologies for 6G network design and optimization. Benefits would include massive automation in smart cities, huge sensor grids and an intricate, interconnected world of many networks and data sets.

Digital transformation hub

5. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Big data and the massive data sets promised by 5G/6G-powered smart businesses are incomprehensible to humans, who can only peek at the results fed into dashboards. These are increasingly provided by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based systems that identify outliers and errors in the data sets, provide statistics-based options to make better decisions, identify new opportunities or markets and further optimize processes.

6. Growth in application programming interfaces

Business users and leaders want their applications to talk to each other and share data to deliver insights and process improvements. This is typically done by application programming interfaces (APIs), which can be created in-house by IT development teams, or provided by vendors to link their applications to third-party products. Whatever their origin, APIs support applications by enabling customization, innovation and automation, creating a smarter business.

Learn more: 5 Pros (and 3 Cons) of API-Driven Architecture

7. Robot process automation

Among all these new technologies, robotic process automation (RPA) – automating data transfers and speeding up repetitive manual data tasks – might seem like a legacy outlier, but it continues to play a key part in many digital transformation projects. And as RPA becomes a broader trend with intelligent process automation (IPA), software robots and no-code apps, its value to businesses will grow.

Learn more: 10 Benefits of Intelligent Automation

8. Augmented and virtual reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been touted to businesses over many tech generations. But the fidelity and practicality of the hardware, software and services have made them a reality for many roles including field engineers, surgeons and designers. From those early users, acceptance and adoption will increase as a value-added marketing, teaching and business tool; helping reduce training times and improving the impact of and delivering content in new ways.

Final thoughts

Digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses, it’s a must to keep up with the competition, future trends and consumers’ demands. If you delay your DX strategy and plan, you risk being behind and it might be too late.

These technologies provide the foundation for digital transformation by powering automation, increasing data accessibility, and enhancing the user experience. Organizations that adopt these technologies will be able to streamline their operations, gain a competitive advantage and improve their overall efficiency.

To learn more about the current state of digital transformation and how it can take your business to the next level, read our full research report, The State of Digital Transformation 2023/2024.

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