By Mr Hiroshi Tahata, JDU Head, Fujitsu Limited
Irrespective of their size, for several years now, Digital transformation has been an objective for many organisations, and yet has been neglected due to competing priorities. Earlier, it took years for an organisation to build and implement a technology-driven strategy, however, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on businesses, the pace of adopting the latest digital transformation trends has quadrupled. Additionally, the dependence on the relevant technologies, such as machine learning, SaaS products, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and more, has also resulted in accelerating advancements and democratisation. In 2022, the spending on digital transformation technologies is estimated to reach $1.8 trillion, as per Statista, which is a clear indicator of the emphasis being laid by organisations on these in order to improve their bottom lines.
Given the large-scale transition of business processes and the global economy, to the online domain, digital transformation is of crucial importance for every business owner.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation, in the business landscape, refers to the adoption of digital technologies to modify how businesses operate. These technological innovations help to simplify processes, increase revenue and efficiency, and accelerate growth.
There are different ways in which a company can implement digital transformation. It varies, depending on the nature of the business. An eCommerce platform can introduce technology to deliver products or services digitally. A retail store can analyze customer data to improve its digital offerings. Since digital technology is a consistently developing field, their adoption is no longer a one-off event but an ongoing process.
Top Five Digital Transformation Trends of 2022
- Cloud Technology
Cloud technology has gained immense popularity in recent years. Instead of on-premises data centres, organisations have shifted their focus to cloud services, encouraging a large-scale digital transformation for organisations worldwide.
After several iterations, cloud technology is all set to disrupt business operations and allow organisations to access data from anywhere in the world, at any time. Consequently, employee efficiency will increase due to the elimination of physical barriers, as they collaborate on projects. There is no longer a need for organisations to have their employees travel from one location to another, or to invest in physical infrastructure. Moreover, cloud computing makes storing large amounts of data easier, enabling remote access when needed.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI has evolved rapidly in the past decade, leaving a tangible impact on many sectors of the economy, such as healthcare, communications, automotive, financial, and technology services. It has brought a change in the way people do business, by automating business processes, enhancing customer engagement, analyzing data to deliver insights, streamlining hiring and recruitment, organizing billing and invoicing, and more.
The use of AI-powered marketing automation software has risen tremendously. Marketers are inclined towards marketing and sales tools backed by artificial intelligence and are including them in their digital transformation strategy. For instance, AI allows marketers to save a lot of time that was otherwise spent on crafting personalised content experiences.
A 2021 survey concludes that 76% of organisations have prioritised AI and ML over other IT solutions. Organisations are prompted to become more efficient, and this desire drives them to automate tasks for enhanced productivity.
One of the significant advantages of digital transformation is automation. It lets businesses reduce the workload of their employees, organise and automate certain processes, and optimise productivity and performance. Automation tools have existed in the digital world for a while. The next step in this is the development of hyperautomation. In simple words, hyperautomation automates automation. It facilitates accelerated growth and business resilience by immediately identifying, assessing, and automating as many processes as possible.
The technology relies on a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation. The tools assess and manage business processes by analysing structured and unstructured data to deliver valuable insight into opportunities for improvement and better optimisation.
Additionally, hyperautomation algorithms evaluate large volumes of data easily, which is not possible for humans. These tools can give comprehensive observations and connotations between background processes that teams and departments in the company cannot otherwise identify.
- Blockchain Technology
Most people associate blockchain technology with cryptocurrencies. But its scope of use is vast, especially in businesses. The most prominent feature of blockchain is enhanced security, due to its fixed records. However, the technology also impacts the way organisations handle contracts and transactions, work with partners, and manage supply chains.
Non-fungible tokens gained immense popularity last year. NFTs are unique digital collectibles that are traded like any other asset class. Currently, the primary focus of NFTs is on digital art and games, but they can also be useful in the areas of stocks, bonds, real estate, and data ownership rights.
- The Hybrid Work Model
In 2022, the hybrid work model became the new normal. Organisations are now becoming more agile and flexible in adapting to the requirements of evolving times. Employees can now choose to work from the office or from home at their convenience. A LinkedIn Future of Work report revealed that 86% of Indian professionals prefer a hybrid model as it allows them to strike a balance between their personal and professional lives.
To facilitate such a working arrangement, organisations must adopt digital workplace technologies that let the management and employees organise their day-to-day activities, work efficiently and collaborate effectively irrespective of their location.
While digital transformation is on the rise, many organisations are still reluctant to adopt new technologies. This may be due to limited resources, lack of information, or anxiety over an unfamiliar change. However, to remain competitive in this rapidly changing landscape, organisations must rethink their strategies and embrace the changes that can significantly impact customer experience and employee engagement.
Digital transformation helps in triggering disruption and driving higher revenues. Each year, promising digital transformation trends emerge that have the potential to promote business growth. Organisations must, therefore, stay on top of the latest trends and upcoming innovations in digital transformation. As technology affordability increases, organisations can improve their operations and create a competitive advantage to become market leaders.