Across the country and from industry to industry, digital transformation is the new buzzword and is often high up on the agenda when C-suite executives get together. These execs understand how important it is to keep ahead of any digital developments so that they can maintain a competitive advantage, although they may not always be able to see a clear path forward when it comes to integration.

How should they view digital transformation from a broad perspective? Even more importantly, why is it essential for them to link their work to emerging trends so that they hit the ground running in 2020?

Emerging Trends in 2020

Multi-Cloud Environment

In 2020, the multi-cloud concept will come into its own. Even though many major organizations already understand the strategy to a degree, they may not utilize this environment effectively and may struggle to deal with its complexity. 

Instead, they should consider a containerized approach, so that applications are portable and can function effectively from one environment to the next. This will involve the creation of specific software that can contain the relevant code to help the application run more efficiently.

IT Department in Control

Far too often, the IT department is seen as merely a support function. However, to enable full digital transformation, this department will need to take control and enable change across the organization. 

Indeed, these IT staff may need to focus on several decentralized processes and systems through the organization. As they do so, this will help them to understand all the performance metrics, so they can identify and anticipate problems and avoid any issues before they arise.

Machine Learning and AI

Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities are rapidly moving from the theoretical to the practical. Organizations, therefore, need to embrace the trend and invest. This will help them to push automation to another level and reduce the inefficiencies or risk that may be associated with manual input.

For example, chatbots or virtual agents should be assigned to the more basic tasks and especially in the field of customer service. Artificial intelligence can also be pressed into service in the retail, financial, and distribution industries and especially as consumers are now less resistant. After all, they are becoming more attuned to automation and, crucially, more willing to allow personalization.

To fully embrace machine learning and AI as part of a digital transformation, individual sets of data must be carefully analyzed so that their value can be determined, changes made, and progress tracked. This will help to justify automation in different departments. 

In summary, consistency and reasoning are the keys, if this cutting-edge technology is to be used to best effect.

Data Management

Of course, data is essentially the lifeblood of any organization, and the better the company is at identification and analysis, the more likely It will be to succeed.  

As organizations apply the gathered data, they will be able to streamline operations, focus on the consumer experience, and get new products or services into the marketplace more efficiently than ever.

Nevertheless, it’s still important to bring all of the departments together and to avoid the dreaded silo mentality. The risk is that crucial data could be kept in closely-guarded pockets, and the company will not be able to perform to its best potential until that data can be retrieved, correlated, and applied.

Customer Experience

Most companies will stand or fall based on how they treat the key groups necessary for their survival. This will include not just the all-important consumer, but business partners, suppliers, developers, and employees. The right connection must be made with all of these different groups so that they all come on board, and the organization stands the best chance of success.

To help achieve this and to improve consumer experiences, developers should aim to streamline the number of individual strategies or apps they may have. This will make the customer experience more predictable and consistent whenever a consumer ports across multiple channels within the organization. In other words, barriers to progress should be eliminated, and the experience should be as smooth as possible across all apps, services, and portals. 

Always remember, however, that consumers would rather have a personalized experience and will feel much happier interacting with the company if they feel that their precise needs are appreciated.

Identifying the Steps

On the face of it, digital transformation would seem to relate to the process of digitization in as many areas of the business as possible. Yet it is far more than that, and those involved in planning its execution should focus on how digital trends can revolutionize the organization, to improve all the key performance indicators. 

When applied correctly, business processes should become more efficient, and the staff should become more productive. Not only that, but customers should be happier, and revenues should increase, so there’s a lot to consider ahead of implementation.

1. Get Everyone to Buy In

Still, all of the department heads will need to contribute to a greater or lesser degree. The work must be cross-silo, with careful planning required at the outset. These heads must contribute to the vision and the creation of a clear strategy, and it will be a good idea to set up an implementation team to focus on the job.

2. Dealing with Cultural Resistance

If the silo mentality is too ingrained, it could scupper any plans for digital transformation, as input is required from everyone. A shift in mindset may be required to get around this mentality so that all stakeholders understand how important It is and get involved in strategic planning. 

Some people may still be resistant to change as they are so used to the current culture, so in this case, the process should be clearly set out to get buy-in from the outset.

3. Assessing the IT Environment

Some business leaders think that they may need to invest heavily in more complicated technology and infrastructure to achieve any digital transformation. The opposite is the case, however, so it is essential to streamline wherever possible, to identify and then take advantage of any new processes and strategies.

4. Looking Ahead

With careful planning, clear communication, and departmental buy-in, a true digital transformation can be achieved. This could transform the business as it enters a new decade by improving all the key performance indicators and keeping those consumers on their side.

Contact Softlanding now if you want to learn more on how we can help you with your Digital Transformation journey.

Written By:

Caroline Blivet

As Softlanding's Marketing Lead, Caroline and is responsible for driving lead generation, developing a go-to-market strategy and, delivering marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys hiking the beautiful trails of British Columbia.

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