As 2016 begins to settle in, now is the ideal time to look at how technology will be driving digital transformation in businesses. The wealth of technology available, and the vast amounts of data present the opportunity to create greater efficiencies and a new model for their operations based on improved customer engagement and communication.
The digital transformation wave
While new technologies continue to provide the ability to transform business models, effectively engage customers and make business operations more efficient, the majority of organisations were still struggling with the basics in 2015, just keeping up with the application backlog and managing IT infrastructure and user devices. Yet, forward-looking organisations are putting user or customer engagement at the top of their technology agendas. Led by the need to think about the entire customer engagement journey, across all digital platforms (mobile, web sites and so on) and in-person interaction, more and more companies will focus their efforts on their own digital transformation in 2016. They will extend traditional systems or systems of record that house core data assets, by delivering applications that engage customers and employees more effectively and provide analytical insight. Organisations that don’t make this transition will be left behind.
From leveraging big data to the modernisation of core business applications, the to-do list for everyone from the CTO to the CIO to your developer team has never been greater. So what are the key factors driving digital transformation?
- The modernisation of core business applications
To compete in this increasingly mobile, social world, companies must find ways to engage customers and prospects in a more digital way. Modernising apps to play well in the digital space will be a must. The websites built by sophisticated market players who realise digitising the enterprise is a critical component of future success will proliferate; no longer is the website a simple billboard for the company, it is an interactive, dynamic resource that encompasses the next generation of application development.
- Digital interactions merge channels and break down silos
In 2016, organisations will realise there is no web and mobile strategy–only a customer-centric digital strategy, regardless of channel. There is no marketing data, sales data and support data—only the customer lifecycle data. Companies will endeavour to provide the best experience based on the combination of individuals and where they are in the lifespan of their relationship with the organisation, from new prospect to long-term buyer. In 2016, digital strategy will mature as companies get serious about bringing together all customer and prospect information and goals, and how best to serve them with a single, continuous digital strategy. The past five years were about bringing commerce, marketing, sales and support online. The next five will be about bringing them together by understanding the journey and making it better, cheaper and faster.
- Big data becomes omnipresent through apps
For the average executive, core data storage infrastructure won’t really matter anymore. The choice of applications that leverage big data, machine learning and so on is where the advantage lies. This first wave of big data focused on the infrastructure stack–storage, scale and integration. It’s actually the next wave of technology that is more exciting because it will make big data mainstream and consumable by everyone. Companies will stop thinking about big data as a big data warehouse to be managed and scaled. Instead, they’ll think about the marketing analytics application that automatically provides the next best piece of content to users and drives higher conversion levels. True big data value will emerge from this next wave of applications and services. These are the ISVs to watch.
Do today what you can’t do tomorrow
2015 saw an increased understanding of the profound transformative possibilities afforded by materials such as big data (now a household term), but 2016 will see businesses evolve from reading about such transformation to actively implementing it themselves. This evolution is not simply a way to succeed above others; it is a way to survive.