Most companies today will tell you that it’s no longer “business as usual” in any area of the enterprise. The only constant is change and digital disruption is the norm. But it’s no wonder when you think about the benefits of digital transformation. Companies implementing smart digital transformation strategies generate better gross margins and realize more earnings and net income than companies that are slower to adopt. According to Harvard Business School, leading companies in digital transformation will see a 55% average gross margin on a three-year average as opposed to 37% for digital stragglers. But just because something is different doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better—or right for your business.
There are, however, trends in digital transformation that promise to be meaningful for companies in 2018 and we’re sharing our picks for the top 5 here.
1. The Internet of Things will finally find its true power. In 2013, Gartner forecasted that the Internet of Things installed base would grow to 26 billion units by 2020. Today they state that there are 8.4 billion “things” on the Internet, well on the way to their 2020 prediction. But we tend to think that it’s not the “things” of IoT that are as important as using IoT as an engine to power three things: analytics, 5G and edge computing.
Analytics will be put to the test by the huge amount of data revealed by the IoT. Mobile providers will be forced toward 5G by the sheer volume of IoT data. And edge computing will bring cloud computing closer to the source for quicker utilization.
2. Speed in the enterprise at any cost. If you think you’ve been operating at warp speed, think again. 2018 will see leaders ramping up their initiatives to get rid of anything that slows them down. This will include opting for new technology and platforms that will produce the quickest return instead of drudging through lengthy TCO analyses that can drag on forever.
3. New kid on the digital block: Blockchain. Bitcoin’s cousin and Gartner’s new darling, Blockchain, will come out of hiding in 2018. Gartner states that it is the second highest search term on their site, jumping 400% over the last year. Essentially, blockchain lets companies and their partners manage and track digital transactions and then store the information contained within those transactions.
It is the fixed nature of stored data in blockchains that delivers a level of security, transparency and trust that few other technologies can offer that makes it so appealing. Interest is definitely rising and Blockchain will find its comfort zone primarily in the finance industry but others such as retail and healthcare won’t be far behind.
4. AI moves from customer service to more business operations. We encounter chatbots in our lives every day but they’re usually in consumer situations when we’re asking Alexa about the day’s weather or inquiring about a snafu in on online retail order. AI will gain a stronger foothold in business enterprises in 2018, especially in the areas of marketing, analytics, customer service and robotics.
AI can be used in strategic planning and drive technology initiatives throughout the business including less expensive and faster (sound familiar?) content generation, industrial production and operations in general. Conquering user experience and adoption may be a challenge but if consumer acceptance is any indication, this shouldn’t be much of a wall, especially when companies realize the healthy ROI potential that AI can deliver.
5. Companies take a more holistic view of digital transformation. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Businesses face the same puzzling situation when looking at digital transformation. Is technology at the heart of transformation, or is transformation at the core and technology simply the tools? We like to take an inclusive view and say yes to both. Digital transformation is a blend of strategic planning as well as technology implementation.
Obviously, new technologies provide speed and capabilities that facilitate initiatives. But the initiatives must be relevant for the business. It can be a complex balance but business leaders will become savvier in 2018 as they begin—or continue—to overhaul their organizations. Business models, culture, skills and leadership will all be tested as they shake up and align to create customer value. Make no mistake, technology is at the core, but in smart organizations, it’s not the only driver.
We’re excited to see how companies will integrate and create demand for new technologies as the year extends. While it’s fun to watch chatbots, AI and the Internet of Things come even more alive, we’re thrilled to witness organizations shake up business strategies and adopt new ways of disrupting their own businesses in order to become global forces. 2018 promises to be an interesting year and we’re glad that we have a front row seat.
Loom Systems delivers an AIOps-powered log analytics solution, Sophie,
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