Up until very recently, I used to advise my clients about strategic digital transformation programs and what digital tools to use to help them in the process. As a visionary, I used to explain new technology such as extended reality, robots or drones and go into detail about the benefits they would bring to their companies. But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. What trends do you need to leverage to gain competitive advantage in your markets today?
My approach now remains the same but with the changes we have all experienced, my examples become more real and urgent. Some trends that I see happening in the second half of this year are being pushed forward because people have changed their way of working. I find remarkably interesting that the pandemic has made companies adapt to their human resources where just before it was the other way around. COVID-19 has made all transformations possible.
Based on my clients’ industry, several technology trends are appearing. Digital transformation is not about digital tools, it is about change management with digital tools coming second. For this post, let us have a look at the trends we see in your world today.
Emerging Technology Trends
In any company data is the basis of everything. Everyone creates data and everyone should start leveraging their data. Whether you are a small, medium, or large company, data is key to your operations and success.
Trend 1 – Big Data Strategy
The first thing I advise my clients to invest in is a big data strategy and infrastructure. Data from all sources (CRM, Social networks, photos, videos, emails, ERP, Financial sources, marketing, supply chain platforms, customer support platforms, connected objects… and many more) need to be taken in consideration, stored, organized, analyzed, and used for predictive analysis, KPI management, budget consideration and operational needs.
How do you get the most out of your data science teams? Tripp Braden shares how your data team can cultivate their soft skills to deliver results.
Today, many providers help with big data strategy. Before you start your project, it is important to ensure you have a clear vision. What do you want to do? How does it help you to optimize your business? Where would you like to be in 3 to 5 years? What does your product roadmap look like to ensure your big data structure encompasses your total vision?
From your big data focus, many other activities follow. For example, if you want to use AI algorithms. The data you have stored needs to be analyzed by data scientists and models. Schemes are created taking full advantage of all AI applications.
An example of this is the digital transformation for the hospitality industry.
Trend 2 – AI as a Service
AI as a service is a trend benefits companies that are just starting to use big data and AI. A lot of companies see the creation, design, and deployment of their own AI-based systems as an expensive and complicated proposition (especially if this is not your business). Using AI as a service allows you to use providers of a service as a platform for all your applications.
You then learn and gain the know-how which later allows you to have your own personal AI strategy. AI as a service ensures you simply feed with your own data and pay for what you use (algorithms and all resources).
To learn more about the foundations of artificial intelligence check out Journey to Artificial Intelligence.
Trend 3 – Extended Reality
Another trend appearing is XR (Extended Reality) which is a mix of MR (Mixed Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and AR (Augmented Reality). This creates a more immersive and engaging digital experience. All type of businesses now use these technologies for training and simulation. If customer facing, these businesses offer new ways to interact with their customers.
Trend 4 – Blockchain
A trend that benefits all financial actors and others is Blockchain. What is blockchain? According to Wikipedia, A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.
It is a digital ledger used to record secured transactions due to its encrypted and decentralized nature. It is the technology that allows crypto currency for example. Many big companies such as IBM, Walmart, Fedex, MasterCard and others have started to use it. Blockchain needs data to operate and with your big data strategy you can operate all blockchain applications.
Trend 5 – IoT
IoT is the Internet of Things (connected objects) https://babin-business-consulting.com/the-internet-of-things-or-connected-objects. Again according to Wikipedia The Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Depending on your business, if you have factories or if you need your products to be traced or protected, you need to have an IoT strategy in place. Again, thanks to your big data infrastructure, it is easier to organize this.
Trend 6 – Security
Another trend that requires your investment (financial or resources) is security. This is an issue for all and especially if you start using digital tools more and more. Security comes with large infrastructures as suppliers have mastered this element (even though, it becomes more and more complex).
You cannot overlook this trend. Everything you start needs to have security in mind. This is truer now than ever before with your staff working from home and accessing your data remotely. Hackers enjoy an unattended entrance gate to your server very much.
Trend 7 – Cloud Computing
As we conclude the data angle of the trends, one particularly important element is cloud computing. Your servers, applications, and databases need to be in the cloud to ensure compliancy, scalability, easy and fast deployment to a new region, financial advantage, (you only pay for what you use), and less headache in maintenance.
These are the trends in terms of data, businesses face in this second half of 2020. Next week, we’ll continue to look at the other trends to ensure the longevity of your organization.