The term Digital Transformation may have appeared overhyped and overused, but it’s now at the heart of how companies deliver value to their customers. What started as a euphemism for modernising legacy on-premise systems has grown into so much more.
Digital transformation (DX) can be described as a radical rethinking of how companies leverage technology, business processes, and people to boost performance and derive real business value.
Such sweeping changes are often driven by the pursuit of new business opportunities, revenue streams, and the desire to meet the customers’ rapidly evolving expectations.
Digital Transformation (DX) Defined
Because Digital Transformation can look different from one company to another, it can be challenging to pinpoint a definition that applies to all.
However, in general terms, we can define DX as the integration of technology into all areas of a business to fundamentally change how the company operates and delivers value to customers.
It’s a process that will lead to an organisational cultural change. Digitally transformed companies experiment often, continuously challenge the status quo, and accept failure.
Sometimes, this can mean replacing long-standing processes within the company with new ones that haven’t been fully defined.
In the age of data, DX is critical to accelerating growth from end-to-end. So it’s not surprising that as much as 50% of Australian companies will be digitally transformed (and determined to reimagine the future through new business models) by 2020.
So what else can we expect this year? Let’s take a look at the top three DX trends that promise to revolutionise the future of enterprise activities.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Be More Pronounced across Industries
In 2019, it’s quite easy to find smart algorithms performing a variety of roles across industries. For example, Natural Language Processing (NLP) will be at the heart of healthcare and marketing initiatives.
AI will also be at the core of cybersecurity, helping secure sensitive, personally identifiable data and enterprise infrastructure. This approach will help companies maintain business relevance while keeping their brand name out of the headlines.
From Business Intelligence (BI) to assisted self-service, AI is rapidly becoming closely intertwined in workplace tasks. Over the next few months, you can also expect to interact with AI in specialised support and maintenance roles.
When you’re working on the cloud and engaging your customers on cloud platforms, there will be multiple opportunities to engage in advanced analytics. This is because everyone from your staff to customers to suppliers will be generating oceans of data in real-time.
When there’s so much data to work with, there will also be plenty of opportunities to optimise processes, boost productivity, and identify new business opportunities.
IDC predicts that 70% of ASX200 companies will create data management or monetisation capabilities to enhance enterprise functions, create new sources of revenue, and become more competitive by 2020.
However, we’re not close to filling the skills gap with smart algorithms. By 2023, only about 35% of Australian workers are expected to work alongside bots and other forms of AI.
As a result, in the short-term, companies will have to take advantage of staff augmentation initiatives to bridge the skills gap.
2. The Emergence of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Working with “bots” doesn’t mean that your new colleague will be the next R2-D2 or C-3PO. Instead, organisations will use pre-configured software instances that follow predefined business rules and activities to mimic human behaviour.
The result will be a highly choreographed, totally autonomous execution of a combination of activities, processes, transactions, and tasks to deliver one or more unrelated software systems to drive services or results with human exception management.
Now that sounds like a mouthful. To put it simply, RPA can be described as a software robot that is programmed to mimic human actions.
The following are some examples of RPA in action in an enterprise setting:
- Data extraction
- Data migration and entry
- Data validation and updates
- Periodic report preparation and dissemination
- Customer on-boarding
- General mass emails
- Lead nurturing
- Generating invoices
- Updating scorecards
RPA promises to develop a highly adaptable workforce. It will be less hierarchical, more cross-functional, and will eliminate the common silos that hinder innovation. This approach to the future of work will also be highly cost-effective.
For example, you can move a “botmaster” that manages bots in the finance department to engage in similar tasks in HR, seamlessly. This will help the bots participate in valuable work (while learning new skills) without the additional expense of hiring and training new employees.
3. The Rise of Edge Computing
Edge computing is on the rise and with good reason. It will continue to be driven by the traditional limitations of cloud computing like bandwidth, latency, and regulatory data restrictions.
With large volumes of data moving back and forth through a mix of cloud computing models, edge computing will help process this data locally and cost-effectively and send (only) the results to the cloud.
This approach will lead to improved integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and enable better data-driven decisions. However, no single company (not even leading technology giants) will be able to build and deploy turn-key end-to-end edge computing solutions.
Instead, custom edge computing solutions will need to be developed to effectively meet the diversity of demands that characterise edge environments.
So enterprise edge computing implementations will rely heavily on ecosystems where individual competencies can be efficiently blended across partners and vendors.
However, it’s vital to note that the requirements can be as diverse as the edge computing environments themselves.
While some perceive the emergence of 5G networks as a threat to edge computing, it will have the opposite effect. 5G promises to drive the growth of edge computing by enabling more flexibility, create new opportunities, and help cut costs.
It will also give rise to the micro data centre in the edge appliance environment. Soon, you can expect to see IT servers that are less than a third of the size of a standard server, and this could lead to more mobile and adaptable data centres in the future.
These types of capabilities will help reduce lifecycle management costs significantly. It’s an excellent example of how digitisation can drive business value in unmanned enterprise spaces.
The top three digital transformation trends discussed above are already forming the foundation of modern business. If you have any questions, reach out to 4mation today for a risk-free, no-commitment consultation.