6 Digital Transformation Trends for Businesses in 2020

28 January 2020

As we enter the next wave of digital transformation in 2020, we consider some of the impacts and implications for businesses who want to keep up.

Digital operating models

Research shows that a staggering 70% of digital transformations fail. This is largely down to outdated approaches to digital operations across complex silos with disjointed accountability. The reality is that unless silos are suppressed, business will struggle with digital transformation. As the authors of the book, Digital @ Scale (Jurgen Meffert and Anand Swaminathean) explain, ‘Digitisation isn’t just about restructuring the organization. Above all, it’s about establishing a new mind-set: teams instead of hierarchies, networks instead of silos, pace over perfection, and learning from customers, not lecturing them. The digital world demands a new way of thinking.‘ Modern models will look to join the gaps between C-Suite, IT and Operations to ensure digital thinking is embedded upfront.

New digital transformation metrics

Many ‘digitally distressed’ companies have not shifted the way they measure success. They rely on traditional business success metrics, excluding new digital transformation-related metrics that deliver more insight. In 2020 and beyond, CIOs will need to develop a more methodical approach for digital projects in order to track proficiency. It’s important to consider that new measurement techniques will need to be more than a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ proposition. Companies should consistently refer back to them in order to gauge success in real time. Everyone, from leadership to the front line, needs to be informed to ensure success and ongoing company buy-in. A story that’s supported with key metrics increases the chances of success.

‘Simple’ data science for all

As companies look to boost customer engagement, ‘simple’ data science and businesses intelligence solutions that all employees can understand can help build a better employee experience and deliver improved, more personalised results for customers. According to one C-suite executive from a specialist retail brand, their company’s 2020 customer engagement strategy is specifically to “focus on improving employee experiences”. Where an off-the-shelf solution may be inhibited by technical difficulties, simplicity will allow users to quickly add new data, enabling the delivery of personalised, dynamic customer engagements in real time.

Benefiting from diversity

Digital transformation is about keeping pace. GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) have been able to capture a huge share of the market in all manner of goods and services, largely because of their agility. Their culture, that honors diversity and inclusion, is a central part of their ability to adapt and evolve quickly. Research has found that a diverse workplace increases innovation and problem-solving, two key components to digital transformation. Companies must figure out how to connect technology to the way their customers behave in order for digital transformation to be successful. Inclusive, diverse teams, who understand humanity more richly, are able to respond to shifts in behavior, preferences and trends more quickly and gain a competitive advantage over their less diverse competition.

The privacy shift

When it comes to security, companies will begin to shift their focus from prevention to detection and response. The result will be more demand from companies to renew legacy systems so they can increase consumer confidence in their ability to protect personal information and respond to real time threats. Apple CEO, Tim Cook has redefined the importance of privacy as a “fundamental human right,” raising the bar and considering how best to balance customer privacy, transparency, and national security. Given the advent of a digitally connected IoT ecosystem, the risks of hacks proportionally increase with opportunities, creating an increased urgency for cyber security to keep up with technology advances.

Investments in closing the data and analytics talent gap

Companies will need to implement new and innovative ways to efficiently respond to the increasingly complex nature of their internal and external business requirements. Employers in all industries continue to face an ever-widening shortage of specialised roles, such as data scientists, data analysts or software developers, that are critical to customer experience and digital transformation. Companies will need to invest greater resources in new ways to find the best talent and equip people with skills to respond to global opportunities and challenges in order to create digital work forces of the future.

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