What does the term digital mean to you?
Before COVID-19, the term digital felt merely aspirational when it came to business transformation. But then everything changed. There will be no going back to the world we had known before, and now a move to digital is a requirement to keep pace with demands from businesses and consumers alike.
At the same time, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is steadily underway and encouraging cloud adoption to keep pace with technology’s rapid change. McKinsey estimates AI can deliver global economic activity of around $13 trillion by 2030. By 2023, the worldwide number of IoT-connected devices is predicted to increase to 43 billion.
As COVID-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution collide, IT organizations will have to transform their business to compete. But what constitutes digital? I believe there is an 80:20 rule to follow here:
- 80 percent of customer engagement should be through digital channels, with only 20 percent through human assisted ones
- Processes and operations should be 80 percent AI and machine learning-based, with the remaining 20 percent through human involvement
- 80 percent of new revenue should come from new digital service and business models, with 20 percent through traditional channels
With this in mind, we see five critical areas to consider when making this shift.
Transformation starts with your workforce
Digital adoption requires a greater focus on organizational culture and investing in upskilling employees with a continuous learning mindset. Take note of new methodologies like DevOps, technologies such as microservices, and journeys like cloud migration. These are areas that will ensure business agility, preparing the workforce for the next significant disruption.
Also, consider the “fail fast” and “elevate success” concepts. The ability to experiment rapidly and fail fast to solve business problems is key to innovation.
Consider new ways to engage the digital-first customer
According to our research, consumers are using new digital channels more than ever due to COVID-19. For example, 30 percent of U.S. consumers are using remote work for the first time, 32 percent are taking advantage of new online food or grocery services, 29 percent are trying new media and subscription services.
Keeping a close eye on new digital frontiers and creating unique ecosystems of offerings for consumers will be critical moving forward. This also creates new revenue streams and business models that will be at the center of our digital future. Partnerships will be meaningful here, as well as hyper-personalization that’s synced across customer-facing channels.
The digitalization of IT and networks
To support advanced business operations, IT organizations worldwide must embark on transformation journeys centered on the cloud and the dexterity this brings. The move to cloud will also be critical to keep pace, evolve quickly and rapidly launch new offerings.
As we fast-forward to a digital future, an era of coexistence between traditional and emerging networks will face increasing operational business challenges. Creating a transparent hybrid approach (on-premise, cloud and multi-cloud), will ensure businesses can tie together current applications with the latest technologies and network updates.
However, as IT organizations embrace public cloud environments, the threat of cyberattacks and malicious hacking attempts becomes a growing phenomenon. As part of a hybrid environment, companies will need to look into security and interoperability as well.
Adopt a data-first mindset
Being able to leverage pools of data to make better business decisions is the backbone of any digitalization efforts. It’s also a way to figure out what consumers or businesses may need before asking for it. This is why AI will play a critical role in the future.
For example, effectively monitoring network traffic for issues before they occur in high-risk areas like hospitals, or quickly creating a new content offering based on what locked-down consumers are demanding. Injecting artificial intelligence into everything your organization does will help it make critical business decisions, but also keep pace with an ever-changing, connectivity-first society.
Inject intelligence into operations
You may have heard the term of technological singularity, where technology’s rapid evolution outpaces what humans can comprehend. Operations will also have its own singularity event, due to the increased pace of real-time demands and machine learning’s increasingly vital role. This is when AI will be needed to automate processes with a focus on continuous learning, development, and government across every aspect of the business.
To stay one step ahead, organizations will have no choice but to implement AI-driven operations, focusing on making continuous improvements to IT environments. It’ll be the only way to remain adaptable and respond faster to change.
Any business transformation is a jump into the unknown, but those who continue to think the “old way” will be left behind; especially as COVID-19 accelerates our digital future. Those who take steps to evolve their business can move into the future with agility and adaptability.