While certainly not new, digital transformation has been high on the agenda for many organisations in 2019. With IDC estimating that $1.2 trillion dollars was spent on digital transformation in 2019, it’s clear that businesses are allocating resources and budget into updating the technology that underpins them. Having made the decision to invest in digital transformation, however, deciding where to spend it can be a daunting challenge. With this in mind, here are six predictions from industry experts on where we’ll see companies start to innovate in the year ahead.
Enlisting human-powered neural knowledge networks
Marc Vontobel, CTO of Starmind
“What we’ll see in 2020 is a greater focus on technologies that unlock the undocumented knowledge within organisations. This is the knowledge that isn’t saved down, but instead exists in a team member’s brain; it’s the creative impulses, critical thinking, deeply held skills and expertise that reside within individuals. 80 per cent of an organisation’s knowledge falls into this undocumented category, representing a vast, untapped resource globally.
“In 2020, artificial intelligence technology tools will be increasingly important in releasing the potential of this knowledge as it becomes a differentiator for successful businesses. With Gartner estimating organisations that implement AI could save 6.2bn hours worth of productive work, AI’s new frontier will be human-powered knowledge networks.”
Immersing audiences with video
Peter Arvai, co-founder and CEO, Prezi
“As businesses are expanding globally, their road to digital transformation is inevitable. As teams grow larger and move further apart geographically, more and more reliance is put on technology to keep integrations strong and collaboration at its best.
“We’ve seen video become a key staple in today’s modern business armoury; up to 71 per cent of UK office workers are either presenting, watching or creating video communications at work already. We’d expect to see this adoption rise in the next year, particularly as organisations can save thousands on meetings that would have previously required travel.
“However, if businesses want video to be as impactful as it promises to be, they need tools that empower its use and provide fully immersive experiences that help maintain human connection. Keeping audiences engaged remotely is no easy task, and while the future of work presents many opportunities, there are also challenges along the way. Working with technology tools that offer compelling visuals, as well as engaging video capabilities, will be key to achieving powerful impact in the next twelve months and beyond.
“They will help propel businesses forward without ever negotiating on the most powerful asset a business can have: its people.”
Driving business transformation with data
Nick Jewell, Director of Product Strategy, Alteryx
“Today, companies continue to face an ever-growing challenge. The explosion of data is acting as a key driver of digital transformation, while also being stymied by a limited supply of data literate talent. That’s why, in 2020, the analytic leaders of tomorrow will come up through the lines of business rather than the IT domain.
:The agent of change becomes more important than IT skills, and leadership must commit with conviction to evolve beyond the antiquated approach to analytics and propel a cultural shift across their whole organisation. Successful businesses will identify and champion employees who demonstrate innovative thinking and embrace new and faster ways to collaborate and share their expert insights, as breaking away from entrenched legacy practices becomes critical in creating this new culture.
“With proper support, these innovative employees are able to embrace technologies and advance their analytics skills to achieve superior business outcomes. Those who successfully combine data and business skills will become successful change-agents, as knowing the business is more important than just a knowledge of pure technology and maths.”
Improving collaboration and communications, hand-in-hand
Stuart Templeton, Head of UK, Slack
“The pace of workplace transformation will continue to increase over the next year. Yet, the crucial discipline of collaboration - the ways in which we work together to get things done - is stuck in a rut due to email acting as the default coordinating point for communications and information. To win, enterprises must realise there's a better way to work together than email. Next year will be the year even more enterprises will reach this "aha" moment.
“Moving away from this traditional mode of communication will be business-critical. With remote working and endless apps now being available, email - creating silos and fragmenting information - will become an even greater block for teams. To mirror the new way of work, enterprises must step away from email and look towards a flexible and scalable structure that will enable coordination and alignment to gain a competitive edge. Furthermore, they need to worry less about the cheapest tool on the market, but more about what provides the best business performance.
Justyn Goodenough, International Area VP, Unravel
Cloud migration has been gathering increasing momentum amongst enterprises in recent years - especially within DataOps. As organisations realise that cloud migration promises much greater scalability, flexibility, optimisation, and lower costs for their big data applications, beginning the cloud journey makes increasing operational sense. In 2020, we expect that not only will organisations increasingly make this transition, they will do so through a carefully planned approach after seeing how early adopters have often foundered. Just as organisations recognise the promise of the cloud, they see the risks too, and we expect this will be reflected in more carefully planned cloud migration journeys. For instance, organisations are now taking into consideration that a poorly-planned cloud migration can be a headache for data teams and lead to reduced efficiencies and increased costs in the short to medium term as unplanned contingencies play havok with SLAs and successful delivery. As such, organisations are more and more ‘looking before they leap’ and anticipating potential issues in their migration before starting. This is encouraging to see and a good indicator of the increasing maturity of the cloud industry.
Simplifying network management with the cloud
Abby Strong, VP of Product Marketing at Extreme Networks
“Cloud networking adoption has been on the increase for a number of years, but 2020 will bear witness to a new era of cloud-driven networking.
“Third-generation cloud offerings promise to radically transform how businesses manage their networks, enabling a shift beyond basic network management and into the realms of real-time innovation and insight. More importantly, they offer increased availability, flexibility, and reduced operational complexity to eliminate unpredictable costs and support ever-increasing connectivity demands. Whilst organisations may already be using first or second generation cloud solutions for the essentials of centralised management, SaaS models, and service availability, this is now just table stakes. Those enterprises looking to realise true digital transformation are fast recognising the need to shift from cloud-based infrastructure management to using cloud services that leverage ML and AI to radically simplify, secure, and future-proof their businesses.
“Further out, fourth-generation cloud offerings on the horizon promise to offer not just management and intelligence capabilities, but assurance of closed-loop automation to detect and address issues without human intervention.
Today, we’re at the eye of a perfect storm. Cloud networks have been tried and tested, IT departments value the agility and flexibility they offer, and major advancements in next-generation cloud infrastructure are underway. 2020 could be the year we see a reinvention of cloud network management to true cloud-driven networking.”