Is Your Business Ready for Digital Transformation?
It seems that everywhere I turn, I hear the phrase “digital transformation.” This seems to be the latest catch-phrase in strategic trends for business, having supplanted "paperless office" in popularity. It’s important to note that digital transformation is not one technology, nor is it a one-time update or tweak to your current systems and processes. Digital transformation is a sweeping customer-centric trend that promises to transform the way businesses do business.
Why Businesses Must Transform or Perish
Forrester summed it up this way in a recent report: “Customers’ power in the marketplace continues to ramp up, so…business leaders need to transform digital customer experiences…The ability to align products, operations, and business models to what we call a “customer-obsessed operating model” will determine firms’ ultimate success. To digitally transform both experiences and operations… professionals (need to) apply technology to these facets of the business, ensuring that they are customer-led and insights driven.”
Forrester also says, “Companies aren’t pursuing a digital transformation to simply keep pace with their peers, or become better at what they currently do. Success in Digital Transformation is not about strengthening or bettering your company, but exposing new business opportunities and opportunities for growth. Digital Transformation has the power to fundamentally change your business model.
Gartner lists ten strategic digital transformation technology trends that are occurring in business now:
- Artificial intelligence -- (AI) and machine learning - hot buzzwords, with AI being the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart.”
- Intelligent apps – Software that uses AI to tell a computer how to respond to something.
- Intelligent things -- An intelligentdevice is any type of equipment, instrument, or machine that has its own computing capability.
- Virtual reality and augmented reality -- Virtual reality(VR) is an immersive, artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real-life environment or situation; augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are have computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data added.
- Digital twins -- computerized companions of physical assets that can be used for various purposes. A digital twin uses data from sensors installed on physical objects to represent their near real-time status, working condition or position.
- Block chains and distributed ledgers – Block chains are distributed databases that are inherently resistant to altering the data, and that are used to maintain a continuously growing list of records; a distributed ledger is a grouping of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, and/or institutions.
- Conversational systems -- a computer systemintended to converse coherently with a human.
- Mesh app and service architecture (MASA) -- pulls together multiple services and microservices, creating a broad framework of connected APIs that users see in the form of one, joined application.
- Digital technology platforms – the software or hardware of a site that contains a group of technologies used as a base upon which other applications, processes or technologies are developed.
- Adaptive security architecture – flexible security measures that adapt to keep an organization’s data secure.
Customers Are Fickle
Digital technologies and web-savy consumers have made it possible for your clients and customers to access more information from more sources than ever before. If your business technologies don’t keep up with your customers’ behavior, you will lose out.
Matching your customers' accelerating speed and agility requires more than a few tweaks to your existing systems. It requires an enterprise-wide transformation and adoption of digital technologies. This kind of sweeping change demands leadership, experience, skills and processes. But, even big changes can start small.