In Part 1, I wrote about the internal framework needed to properly support a digital transformation effort. In Part 2, we’re going to talk about technologies and trends in digital transformation for 2020 and beyond.
But first, some history
According to a report by Deloitte, cloud migration, analytics, and technologies powering digital customer experiences have been the backbone of disruption in the past decade.1 While most business investment was in these three key pillars of technological disruption, Deloitte laments that efforts have often been siloed and incoherent, or even competing, preventing organizations from maximizing the benefits from transformation.
A few highlights in technology domains that enabled digital transformation in the past:
- Broad adoption of cloud computing
The scalability of cloud technologies made it accessible to companies of any size, allowing them to avoid costly IT infrastructure and maintenance on-site; A benefit that opened the door to widespread adoption. Cloud computing not only enabled the democratization of data collection and made companies nimble and agile when scaling, but its low prices also triggered a proliferation of “everything-as-a-service”.2 Essentially, by jumping on the Cloud bandwagon, organizations took the first steps of their digital transformation journey – modernizing their legacy systems and infrastructure.
The smartphone explosion in the past 10+ years brought millions of people across continents onto the web, all at the same time. The popularity of smartphones triggered the proliferation of mobile apps ecosystems which is now an integral part of people’s lives. For organizations, integrating mobile into the digital transformation strategy has become an essential step on their path to creating a positive digital customer experience.
The pace of transition to mobile was accelerated by 4G. With the rollout of 4G in 2012, people around the globe gained access to the internet at speeds many times faster than with 3G. The 4G technology was a game-changer not only because of the better speed that it offered but also because it was significantly cheaper. The arrival of 4G gave fuel to organizations becoming mobile, adopting smartphones and IoT devices into everyday operations.
While the adoption of B2C IoT devices has blossomed alongside the launch of smartphones, it is really the industrial Internet of Things that allowed companies to start collecting data on all type of devices, from drones to smart warehouses to self-driving tractors, and then use machine learning and AI to analyze and data-drive their business decisions.
- Big data
Over the past decade, companies not only realized the value and potential of data, but they also managed to find ways to analyze it to make better data-driven decisions, get better insights in customer behavior, and transform and adapt to the changes in their markets.
- Social media
Rewinding to 2010, it wasn’t understood what impact social media would have on businesses in the decade to come. At that time, most businesses and public officials just started to realize they would need to have Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Trends for digital transformation in 2020
Some of the digital transformation trends companies will pursue in 2020 will be consistent with patterns of the past few years:
- Core systems modernization
Technology and business leaders are facing a persistent challenge to deliver faster and more consistently in an environment of innovation-driven rivalry. Companies that are heavily invested in legacy systems will continue to look for ways to capture more value from them by turning them from technical debt into technical assets. While some organizations will choose to build on top of legacy systems, others will be replacing them with cloud-based technologies.
- Repurposing existing assets to serve as the foundation and fuel for innovation and growth.
- Elevating cybersecurity and data protection as a business-critical, strategic function1 Thanks to a number of privacy failures from companies to protect their customers’ data, as well as the increasingly sophisticated customers and the establishment of the EU’s GDPR and growing concerns in the U.S., it is likely that we see companies getting a lot more serious about privacy and data security issues.
A trend fueled by the exponential growth of cloud computing in the past decade, “everything-as-a-service” will gain even more momentum in the 2020s, with even the most hardware-driven industries revolutionizing their offerings.
A few new trends are on the rise, fueled by new and ever-evolving technologies:
- Digital Reality
Combining augmented reality, virtual reality, Internet of Things, and immersive technologies digital reality opens the door to human interaction with technology and digital experiences that were otherwise unthinkable.
In the past decade, blockchain has managed to evolve from a technology underlying most virtual currencies into the cornerstone for building trust in web interactions and engagements in general. A growing number of enterprises have started deploying blockchain solutions to avoid the complexities arising from maintaining numerous disconnected databases.
- Cognitive technologies
Cognitive is the cumulative term for machine learning, artificial intelligence, bots, robotic process automation and more. This technology domain is set to get a better insight into ever-growing data by handling both larger volumes and increased complexity.
Technologies behind successful digital transformation in 2020
While the trends above will be shaping the overall focus and investment of organizations in the new decade, the technology below is the foundation of efforts today:
- 5G mobile and beyond
While most consumers await blisteringly fast speeds on personal devices, the true value of 5G goes far beyond mobile. The adoption of 5G will accelerate the development of smart cities, smart vehicles, manufacturing and power-hungry industrial IoT devices. Some of the biggest Telcom names are backing up the deployment of the global 5G.3
- WiFi 6
Albeit different from 5G, the value that WIFI 6 will bring along is similar: much faster upload/download processing speeds, and the ability to extend faster data speeds to more devices.
Artificial intelligence is the backbone and the fuel for technological development in a vast array of business operations such as robotic process and real-time data processing. AI provides businesses massive advantages, especially in analytics because of its ability to automate the processing of massive datasets.
Undergoing a Digital Transformation? Get a Digital Modernization Assessment
To help companies navigate the digital transformation journey, we at Resolute Software have developed a digital modernization assessment that examines and evaluates a company’s existing systems and workflows. The service provides an objective look at the current digital state vs. ideal future state while identifying major perceived gaps and opportunities that can be pursued as part of the digital transformation journey.