The year 2017 was when organizations began to take digital transformation (DT) seriously and invest in it more than ever. In the course of the adaptation curve, 2018 proved to be a year where there were several lessons learned. The most important of them was, perhaps, the fact that for DT to be implemented, there needs to be a massive change in an organization as well as its mind set. With digital transformation being complex, organizational changes to take in and accept new tools and techniques needed to come in place; and 2018 was the year that worked toward it. If there is one lesson to be had from this in 2018, it is that DT, once understood, needs to be done in an iterative manner and sustainably over a period of time.
Now based on this understanding, let’s take a look at some of the top trends in digital transformation for 2019:
The CEO will Take Over the Reins
In the wake of DT, the onus of progress was placed on the shoulders of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). This was primarily to ensure that all transformation be done with a single leadership role that was dedicated to it. But this is gradually changing, and the CEO is becoming the head of the DT agenda. Data from an MIT Sloan Management Review says currently, 41% of CEOs lead transformation versus 16% of CIOs. There are many reasons for this change. The CEO often has the ability and the information needed to rally all members of the board together and commit resources where needed. The CIO or CDO, on the other hand, place their focus squarely on the technology aspect of the transformation. With the CEO having the supreme authority over the organization and his ability to bring resources or pull them together, there will be an increase in the role of the CEO in promoting DT in 2019.
Increased Focus on Skill Building to Facilitate DT
The rapidity at which DT takes place constantly requires technology to keep up. In the bargain, the human side of things often take a back-seat, despite the fact that it is the human that drives the innovation. People are required to build, implement, monitor and upscale technology to ensure that the path to DT is unfettered. In order to do this effectively, there is a need for skilled people, the lack of which currently stands at 39% according to a study done by TechRepublic. In 2019, there will be an increase in methods that will help with upskilling works in an organization to anticipate the needs of their company in the process of DT.
Contextual Privacy will be the Center of Focus
More than ever the privacy of consumers and businesses is at the forefront of any form of technology. 2018 had a number of security breaches that took place. Come 2019, businesses set their focus on contextual privacy needs, and these will be based on location-centric information. Organizations will also undergo a drastic change in the way they handle security as well as the manner in which they keep personal data safe. Approaches will include being able to communicate transparently and clearly; minimizing how much of personal data is collected and stored; ensuring consumers have complete control over their data; creating a model where the data collected is used for the benefit of the consumer as well as the organization. A complete win-win situation.
Bots will get More Sophisticated
A study released by UK-based Juniper Research estimates that chatbots will help businesses save more than $8 billion per year by 2022. This means that it improves the efficacy of employees and ensures positive experiences for customers. 2019 will be the year that is dedicated to making huge developments in the field sentiment analytics as well as natural language processing. It will ensure that more businesses can begin to rely solely on bots to be able to interact with their customers. The worry that this may reduce the need for human interaction can be allayed by the fact that humans will always be needed – one, to upgrade the abilities of bot and two, to handle complex customers that will always be out of the ability of a bot.
Enter the 5G Mobile Network
We are seeing the first murmurs of the 5G network with it now being available in pockets, across the world, on desktops. 2019 will be the year where 5G is going to go mobile. Test deployments are currently underway to ensure the transition is smooth. Seamless connectivity is what 5G promises to the user, irrespective of which platform and which means of connecting to the Internet is being used.
From Data to AI
There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created at the current pace and research shows that 2018 was the year when around 90% of data in the world was generated. With more than 3.7 billion humans using the internet for information and this number growing at a pace of 7.5% since 2016, the numbers are unimaginable. But, truth is that only a percent of this data is being used effectively. Data is the core of any organization’s decisions when it comes to services as well as its approaches and products. While machine learning has done that to a large extent, in 2019, we will see more investments from companies into making the most of data, both through machine learning as well as artificial intelligence (AI).
These are key trends that DT is going to see in the coming year. To be successful, it is essential that digital leaders across the board created a knowledge base where by all their learnings are aggregated and everyone is able to share information. DT opens up a vast world of opportunity as well as challenges, and being able to meet them is essential. 2019, will pave the way for that.