A frequent question I have been ask lately "What are the leading digital trends for the year ahead?" Through dialogs with customers, business and technology leaders, and reviewing dozens of independent surveys and reports - Below is a list of 7 digital innovations for 2018 which we feel will make a difference.
#1 - Artificial Intelligence. The ability to leverage A.I. is already an industry differentiator - and knowing where and how to start is key. Three strong steps to help you get started: Understand the differences between RPA, autonomics, machine learning, and cognitive computing solutions. Understand how your enterprise provider of ERP and CRM is either delivering - or intends to deliver for use in their platform. And decide how your employees and customers will engage with the experience ahead.
#2 - Augmented reality (and audio engagement) and how to successful leverage for customers. Beyond the possibilities of virtual real estate walk thrus or ordering soap replacements from Amazon- which parts of your business and customer services become vastly different when augmented or voice enabled. Consider how the customer experience can change (and their expectations most certainly will) - and aim for where the hockey puck is going in your industry.
#3 - IoT and edge based computing capabilities. IoT has become mainstream, smart cities are leading the way - and analyzing and acting on the data flowing insights is optimally done at the edge (think hybrid cloud / solutions that act on real time streams like traffic flow through an airport, but do not require a 'home run' for analysis and reporting to a corporate data center). What is your ability to act on the possibilities of the IoT / cloud edge solutions that are now available?
#4 - Blockchain and effective distributed trust based solutions. As more companies and industries get their head around distributed trust - blockchain will disrupt many existing 'trust and verify' processes and businesses. Industries (think banking, logistics, manufacturing) which rely on extreme accuracy and precision of information (and have regulatory implications) - are already moving on these innovations. What are you doing to ensure your place in the blockchain revolution?
#5 - Dark analytics and Insights. Sounds like Star Wars stuff. This is life after Big Data - focusing on the insights that make a difference found in the information previously so vast or complex it was not link-able to the bigger business picture. Now it is. The questions and answers to be found will grow exponentially in the year ahead - and combined with an A.I. solution to help surface - you will be leading (or lagging) your pack.
#6 - Pick a better cloud platform / partner (again). As all of the major players have put out their strategies and new solutions for the year - making choices between Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Salesforce becomes a major business / partnership choice for the year+ ahead. Microsoft in particular has stepped up their offerings and capabilities with Azure. Take more than a few minutes to study the options. The pricing. The value added services and eco-systems. It is going to make a big difference if your business relies on integrations to maximize value in the business.
#7 - Lastly, information security and real time risk management automation. This needs to be on every company's 'deal with asap' list - automation and management / talent to address the continuous war on information. As more information security providers are embracing and offering automated solutions, companies will need to have a clear (and continuously updated) picture of risk and response to ensure their stakeholders and employees / customers of optimal security operations. The days of 'once a year' security audits and response lists are behind - real time and autonomous is where companies need to be today.
While not exhaustive - the 7 above are a strong place to start in digital innovation for 2018. Curious to learn more about these solutions and and how they are part of a digital business in the new year - get in touch!