Welcome to 2016, the year that Digital Transformation (DX), goes from hype to reality. According to Sandra Ng, Group Vice President IDC Asia Pacific, 2016 will witness the mega transition in the DX era.
As a part of the transformation, disruptive new business models will re-imagine and transform the workplace. While some companies will apply these new paradigms, gain competitive advantage and thrive, others may not. It is therefore important for organisations to understand and incorporate them in their long-range business plans so they can succeed during the impending upheaval.
Here at Unit4, we have identified five trends at the heart of the revolution that we will see in 2016 and beyond:
Trend 1 – The Internet of Things Spreads to Every Thing, Everywhere
The keyboard is no longer king. It is only one element of the impending data avalanche from a growing network of information contributors. Mobile devices, wearables, sensors, automotive devices, environmental devices - all have matured. The proliferation of input gleaned from them is increasing rapidly.
Gartner calls this the “digital mesh.” Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. This information goes beyond textual, audio and video information to include sensory and contextual information.
Effective enterprise software collects this cacophony of data, makes sense of it, and incorporates it into your business processes. And for that you’ll need the new analytics.
Trend 2 – The New Analytics
Data continues to be key. According to IDC, by 2017, two-thirds of Asian-based CIOs will initiate a data transformation and governance framework to turn information into a competitive business differentiator.
New techniques and strategies are emerging to analyse this tidal wave of information. It will be too expansive and complex for humans to digest. Smart software will autonomously analyse the terabytes of input and then suggest solutions and outcomes to their human “masters.”
Yesterday’s software was designed for computations and functionality. Today’s generation is designed for analytics. It will provide a level of intelligence never seen before. Self-learning programs that uncover insights beyond human comprehension will gain a solid foothold in our operations.
Expect this trend to evolve and expand quickly in a few short years, but the best businesses will begin taking advantage in 2016.
Trend 3 – Rapid Advances in User Experience
In 2016, user experience will go beyond a pretty interface. The technology landscape will be dominated by an intense focus on user experience. Smarter systems will facilitate seamless interactions that anticipate the needs and behaviors of users. Expect intelligent software to reduce the need for user interaction at all.
As consumers we’ve come to expect an elegant and intuitive experience. As business users we will expect the same. In addition, the impact of BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, will continue and accelerate this usability trend, as employees choose a familiar device, tailored to their personal needs. The overall result will be employees constantly interacting with their peers, their computers and the worldwide web.
Excellent usability makes your business applications far more impactful. As your teams exchange more data, more often and from more places than ever before, you’ll realise increased efficiency, more collaboration, and better, timelier information.
Trend 4 – The Forecast is Sunnier for the Cloud
Small and midsized businesses have led the migration to the cloud. They started with applications that were not core to their business mission, and in a short time, more and more mission-critical apps have been moved to the cloud. In 2016, expect the large multi-nationals to join the party. By 2018 Gartner is forecasting that 25% of large organisations will run their financial applications on the public cloud.
Enterprise-strength cloud solutions are increasing. Security fears are waning. Larger companies are hungry for the greater agility and reduced IT complexity that cloud solutions offer. The movement of core applications to the cloud – among businesses of all sizes - is inevitable.
Trend 5 – The Empowered Workforce
Sophisticated software will enable high-wage, high-skilled workers to reduce mundane tasks. According to a McKinsey & Company Report in November 2015, as many as 45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. The report references all employees, from CEOs, financial managers and top managers to frontline employees, the ones responding to customer’s needs.
Increasingly sophisticated software will perform increasingly sophisticated tasks - from analysing reports and data to making operating decisions, from preparing staff assignments to reviewing status reports. The result will be engaged and empowered employees that deliver greater value.
These 5 trends - user interface, IoT, analytics, cloud and the automated workforce – are at the heart of Digital Transformation. IDC’s chief analyst, Frank Gens, says in this new world enterprises must “transform or die.” They must “create competitive advantage through new offerings, new business models, and new customer, supplier, and distributor relationships.” The right technology is the key enabler.
Given the above trends it is essential to understand and make the most of them to drive business success. Having said that, we believe that investing in the right enterprise software can help organisations thrive during the great digital transformations of 2016 and beyond.
Jack Van Der Velde, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Unit4