What are the key technologies for embracing digital transformation in 2019?

Last year it was identified that around 70% of digital transformation initiatives failed to achieve their goals. Maybe in 2019, it will be better. With the right preparation, digital transformation can be within reach.  One of the issues is that there are so many different technologies to choose from, with so much hype behind them, it can be difficult to know which to deploy. To help eliminate this pitfall we’re going to look at a few of the key focus areas that companies and CTOs should be looking to embrace in 2019, or key technologies to support digital transformation.

Technologies to support digital transformation number one: Use AI to Work Smarter in 2019

Rather than looking for ways to work harder, organisations are beginning to look for ways to work smarter. Using artificial intelligence is one of the best ways to develop insights and improve productivity. By deploying AI solutions organisations can utilise the data sets they accumulate and use them to refine everyday business practices.

The retail industry, in particular, is embracing AI en masse in attempt to improve their understanding of consumer preferences. Juniper Research estimates that global retailer spending on AI will reach $7.3 billion per year by 2022 as retailers attempt to develop their understanding of customer preferences. AI’s potential isn’t limited to the retail industry either, with companies from all walks of life attempting to improve decision making.

The marketing industry has also welcomed artificial intelligence driven tools. For example, in a survey of over 1600 marketing professionals, 61% noted machine learning and AI as the most important initiative for 2019. Over the next 12 months, it will be interesting to see how widespread the adoption of AI solutions will be.

Just how artificial intelligence can be adopted to improve day-to-day business processes depends on the individual organisation. However, one AI user case that companies of all sizes could learn from applies to Virgin Holidays. Virgin Holidays have used AI in the past to automate and improve email subject lines. In fact, by using AI Virgin holidays email open rates increased by 2% resulting in significantly more revenue.

No matter what marketing channels you’re using to reach your target audience, it is worth considering how you can leverage AI to personalise your marketing content more effectively. Adding AI to your brand could be the perfect blend to boost your customer engagement that little bit more.

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Technologies to support digital transformation number two: Redefine your local environment with IoT devices

Digital transformation isn’t just about changing insights either, the borders between the physical world and the internet are slowly being erased as internet of things (IoT) devices continue to grow in popularity. IoT vendors will be able to connect everything from wearable devices and smart appliances to the internet for data collection.

It is estimated that the global IoT market will be worth over $123 billion by 2021. The widespread adoption of IoT devices is slowly beginning to occur within the manufacturing industry, where goods need to be delivered from factory to consumer as fast and efficiently as possible. IoT devices are key resources for producing the data to make this possible.

An increase in deployment of IoT devices will have a dramatic impact on the volume and quality of data that organisations have at their disposal. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in DHL’s usage of IoT devices to monitor their logistics operations. Last year DHL SmarTrucking was used on trucks throughout India to analyse transit routes and successfully reducing transport times by 50%.

It is important to note that IoT devices have a cross industry application as well. If you’re currently working within an office environment, then a great way to implement IoT into your workplace could be to turn your office into a smart office. Deploying smart scheduling platforms and smart lighting to cut down on energy consumption are just some of the ways you can start to rebuild your office for efficiency this year.

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Technologies to support digital transformation number three: The wildcard, blockchain technology

When considering digital transformation, these days blockchain needs to be considered. . While blockchain is a long way from mainstream adoption it is large enough to warrant paying attention to.

A decentralized distributed ledger, blockchain, offers to reform not just financial transactions but data transactions as well. To date, over 75 of the world’s leading banks have joined the Interbank Information Network (IIN) being lead by JP Morgan, ANZ and the Royal Bank of Canada to see how blockchain can be implemented to refine financial transaction efficiency and reduce fraud.

Outside of the financial world, blockchain does have an application relevant to businesses of all sizes; smart contracts. Smart contracts are like peer-to-peer agreements that automate the fulfillment of contracts. One noteworthy example of this is Fizzy AXA, a blockchain product for an airline called AXA, that uses smart contracts to automatically distribute compensation if a customer’s flight is delayed by more than 2 hours.

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Digital Transformation: A brave new world

While digital transformation often gets thrown around as a buzzword it is undeniable that standard business practices are starting to become unrecognisable as new technologies step into the mix. Being creative about how you use these technologies to boost the efficiency of your organisation is key to making digital transformation work for you.

Digital transformation isn’t necessarily the same thing for every company. Some technologies will offer little value to your operations, whereas others will naturally complement your established processes. Managing your aims and expectations will help you to deploy those technologies that will deliver the most benefits.

The largest task you’ll run into will be discerning which technologies will deliver the greatest return on investment. Keeping an open mind and having confidence in deploying new technology will help you to be one of the those companies that sees a digital transformation initiative through to completion.

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