The big trends of 2018 businesses cannot ignore

‘Digital transformation’ is creating exciting opportunities for businesses to develop new revenue streams and become more efficient.

However, it also opens up threats. In some sectors, adoption is happening so quickly that businesses are facing their ‘Kodak’ moment. Companies operating in industries like retail or financial services need to either fully embrace digital transformation or face becoming obsolete.

>See also: 3 megatrends that will drive digital business into the next decade – Gartner

CEOs and other leaders are witnessing the digital disruption of their business models, with new high-tech competitors and growing customer expectations about the delivery of products and services.

2018 is the year that UK businesses need to get fit for the future and at least five things need to be on the agenda:

1. Get protected

The first duty of management is to ensure all systems and data, especially valuable customer information, are secure. 2017 saw a string of high-profile cyber attacks, such as the WannaCry incident.

A poll from think-tank Demos found 90% of people in the UK were concerned about cybercrime. There are so many services and tools available to fight back that customers will find it hard to forgive companies that don’t protect their data.

2. Understand GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will see all EU businesses have to comply with stricter data laws when the legislation comes into effect in May 2018. It will change the way companies store, hold and use customer data.

>See also: The top 5 trends for digital transformation in 2018

Technology is vital in ensuring compliance because if a company fails to meet the stricter standards, they face a fine of €20 million or 4% of annual turnover. If a business hasn’t thought about GDPR, then it needs to now.

3. Get mobile

With secure cloud technology and connected devices, the need for employees to be in the office every hour of the day is receding. For working parents, in particular, the ability to work flexibly can be vital and something they increasingly expect from their employers. For businesses, it reduces the need for expensive office space. The ability to offer flexibility is now essential for recruitment as well as generating savings.

4. Data analytics

Data is the most valuable thing a business has and how it deploys it is the key to capitalising on new technology and developing new revenues. Many companies collect but lack the tools to analyse data and turn it into information that can help drive decisions.

>See also: 7 trends driving enterprise IT transformation in 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) is ushering in significant changes to workplaces, boosting productivity and efficiency by creating new data sets. However, to take advantage, businesses need to be able to analyse their data. Analytics tools will become ever more critical.

5. Software-as-a-service

Smart companies know that business critical software such as Microsoft Office suites and expense/payroll systems are now all available in the Cloud in SaaS form. Cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure can transform the flexibility of a business as well as its operating costs. If they haven’t already, 2018 needs to be the year companies begin to move their software systems to the Cloud.

 

Sourced by Nathan Marke, chief digital officer of Daisy Group

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.