According to IDC, organizations all over the world will spend approximately $2 trillion dollars on digital transformation technologies in 2020. This prodigious amount of projected investments in digital technologies will impact how businesses engage with their customers, transform internal processes, and create new revenue streams.
But given the limitless possibilities that digital transformation offers, coupled with the fact that trends come and go, the challenge for enterprises is to find which technologies and trends are here to stay, so they can ensure lasting returns on their investments.
In this post, we will explore five technologies and trends that are here to stay:
#1 The Rise of the Multi-Cloud Ecosystem
Gone are the days when all technology initiatives are centralized and proposed by the enterprise’s IT department. The proliferation of cloud-based applications helps each of the different business units find the right solution for its specific needs. At the same time, the usual as-a-service payment scheme offered by cloud services allows the business units to include the applications in their operating expenses.
However, a multi-cloud technology ecosystem is not without challenges. The decentralization of control over technologies puts the enterprise at risk of having redundant and inconsistent data, compromising the quality of its data. At the same time, it also puts the enterprise at risk of security threats because of the growing number of entry points into the enterprise systems and the lack of control, governance, and oversight often levied by the IT department.
Because of these challenges, enterprises must ensure the quality of data by way of reducing the inefficiencies with gathering and processing of data. They can do this by formulating and implementing multi-cloud strategies that guide business units in adopting new technologies and integrating them with other technologies in the ecosystem. In fact, according to IDC, most enterprises believe that only a multi-cloud strategy will be able to support them in achieving their business goals in this age of digital transformation.
#2 Managed Security Services to the Rescue
Recent years have been marked by some of the most impactful, sophisticated, and targeted cyberattacks. The economic losses from the WannaCry ransomware in 2017 alone are approaching $4 billion.
As technology evolves, so do cyber attacks and cybersecurity threats. For instance, a multi-cloud technology ecosystem gives hackers and cybercriminals a greater surface of attack. Furthermore, the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) by businesses or the use of internet-connected devices also adds points of vulnerabilities into enterprise systems.
The increasing complexity of threats and the ever-expanding technological ecosystems that enterprises need to protect can be overwhelming for businesses and IT departments. Because of this, enterprises should consider outsourcing their IT security to managed security services providers. MSSP’s have the advantage of focusing solely on security, unlike enterprises which also have to meet their strategic and day-to-day to goals. They also have the expertise and the time to keep up to date with the latest security threats. By leveraging managed services for security, enterprises can focus on their businesses’ long-term and operational objectives.
#3 Architecture Virtualization: The Next Step in the Evolution of Cloud Computing
Enterprise applications were the first to leverage the power of cloud computing. Then, data storage followed suit as it took advantage of the massive storage capacities offered by cloud services providers. Today, entire technology architectures are being built and virtualized on the cloud — including in-house applications developed by enterprises.
The virtualization of architecture — also known as serverless architectures — enables enterprises to run programs, applications and even simple code without having to build or manage their own servers. It is made possible by services such as Microsoft Azure Functions and AWS Lambda.
Some of the advantages of virtualization include added security, faster scalability and better reliability. Virtualization takes advantage of the provider’s security measures. In the case of AWS Lambda, enterprises are able to take advantage of its security measures such as access and resource sharing controls. Virtualization also accelerates the development of enterprise applications, such as the IoT, Big Data Analytics, and Machine Learning tools as developers no longer have to manage servers. Finally, enterprises are also able to leverage the reliability of their providers’ servers, thus drastically reducing the downtime of their applications and the inefficiencies of in-house servers.
#4 A Greater Focus on Customers
If all roads lead to Rome, as they used to say, then today’s technologies, more often than not, lead to greater customer insights. From social media applications to e-commerce websites, mobile applications, Big Data Analytics, and even the IoT, most of today’s technologies are designed to capture, process, and analyze customer data. According to a survey of business executives, the greatest challenge and opportunity of digital transformation is understanding the behavior or the effect of a new customer.
Greater customer insights enable enterprises to deliver a better customer experience. Through a better understanding of their customers, enterprises are also empowered to give customers what they want instead of hoping that customers will purchase the products and services that enterprise creates. Armed with greater customer data and insights, enterprises are able to deliver personalized and targeted products, services, and promotions.
Customers now purchase products and services almost exclusively online or directly from their phones. They are the catalysts for driving enterprise transition to providing digital and mobile experiences — from commerce to payment, delivery, customer service, and support.
#5 Improved Internal Communications
Improved internal communications is second only to gaining greater customer understanding and delivering better customer experience when it comes to the benefits expected and derived from adopting digital technologies. New technologies designed to improve communications — such as mobility, instant messaging, conferencing, knowledge sharing tools, and even social media — are the next steps in the evolution of corporate communications. Communications technologies have proven that they can be adopted by virtually any kind of company and that they are here to stay.
Communications technologies are not only improving the way employees communicate, but also are changing the way they work. For instance, in the field service and aftermarket industries, the use of mobile phones have empowered field service engineers and technicians to access up-to-date information on their engagements even when they are on field or on site. Faster and more secure internet connections are also allowing enterprises to implement remote work arrangements with their employees, reducing office space rentals and related expenses.
Ensuring ROI in Digital Technologies
To ensure a return on investment in digital technologies, enterprises must develop a Digital Transformation strategy. Knowing these five lasting trends — multi-cloud ecosystems, managed security services, architecture virtualization, greater customer insights, and improved internal communications — can help enterprises develop their own digital transformation strategy and integrate those trends into a holistic vision.
It’s worth noting however, that any digital transformation initiative should start with capturing, integrating, and utilizing quality data. Using an enterprise data management platform such as Liaison’s ALLOY® platform, enterprises can ensure that the data coming from all corners of their enterprise are cleansed, harmonized, enriched, secured and consolidated. Armed with a steady supply of quality data, the enterprise can then fully embrace and reap the benefits of digital transformation.