Embrace Digital Transformation in 2018 with These 10 Tips

by Jim Sinur

(Aragon Research) 2018 is a pivotal year for organizations going digital. If you have not made plans to digitally transform, or have not implemented those plans, this is your year!

Make 2018 the year you embrace digital transformation.

Keep these ten tips top of mind as you embrace digital transformation, execute your digital strategy for 2018, and refine and rework your digital plans.

Turn Your Digital Plan Into Digital Actions

2018 is the year of “doing” digital—i.e., making it actualized. While planning and experimenting with digital was important and will continue to be important, organizations need to now focus on delivering real organizational outcomes. Understanding where digital is gaining traction and applying it for results will be the theme for 2018.

Prioritize Your Customers

For obvious cost and revenue reasons, keeping customers loyal is crucial. Placing an emphasis on an excellent customer experience—while optimizing a balance between operational efficiency and customer satisfaction—should be the goal for digital organizations. Outcomes that revolve around customer, employee, and partner satisfaction is the end game of digital done right.

Automate Whenever—and Wherever—Possible

For 2018, your organization should focus on automating low-skill tasks and jobs by adding smarts and processes that can deal with emerging conditions and contexts. As automation occurs on lower levels, higher-level jobs will be impacted by automation or automated assists. Operations will become leaner because fewer workers will be needed to do the same work.

Leverage Artificial Intelligence

Augmented intelligence will become the most important step toward full AI, and your organization should invest in it. There will be a new collaboration between people, machines, and software that is aimed at finding important patterns, making complicated decisions, and taking appropriate actions—and doing this as fast as possible.

Augmented intelligence will become popular because of the benefits that organizations will experience through extending their people’s intelligence. This will help AI to become more autonomous and pervasive.

Consider Industrial Cloud

Cloud will no longer be just an operational destination to create presence and reduce cost. In 2018, cloud will provide a level of security and intelligence that organizations will not likely deliver on their own. Right now, there is a lot of momentum for private cloud, but the temptation of an intelligent and secure cloud will move more organizations to a more public presence.

Prepare for Cloud as Commodity

The cloud is an operational platform—it does not allow for organizational differentiation provided by unique business models, processes/applications, or customer experiences. Over time, the cloud will become commodity and the war will be on price. This means that software that resides on the cloud will make the real difference for your organization.

Don’t Dismiss Dark Data

While IoT and emerging processes will greatly contribute to the volume and speed of data, just gathering data is no longer sufficient. For 2018, gleaning insights from dark data for operational improvement and customer care should be a focus.

Eliminate Speed Limits

Speed of action will become key differentiators for both product/service design as well as responses to customers, employees, and partners. This means that the speed to sensing will be key, even if there is no IoT contribution to the process or application. IoT will add more of the need for speed and the ability to absorb complicated patterns of sense and respond. This will put an emphasis faster decisions and actions.

Keep Context Top of Mind

Knowing the how to respond to a situation is one thing—understanding the effect of the response in context is quite different, and very important, especially when the context is new and emergent or the combination of contexts might change the response. This is why your organization needs policies, rules, and constraints to keep both human and AI responses appropriate for the situation. Proper management and governance to guide interaction is a key consideration.

Take Action to the Edge

There is a trend to take action closer to where the patterns are sensed. A centralized control model will not add as much value as breaking down large processes and applications into microservices and process snippets that reside at the edge to sense and respond close to where the event occurred.

Bottom Line

2018 is the year that your organization—and many others—will put their digital plans into action, and will serve as a major turning point in digital transformation.

To further prepare for digital, make sure to stay up to date on the top trends that will impact your technology decisions.