Home Strategy 2018 a year of ‘uncertainty’ for companies not embracing digital transformation: report

2018 a year of ‘uncertainty’ for companies not embracing digital transformation: report

Companies face a year of more uncertainty in 2018 and the window of opportunity is closing for many looking to digitally transform, and revitalise customer experiences, according to a new report.

According to the report from research firm Forrester, 2018 will force decisive action on the digital front for companies to take control of their destiny.

“The dynamics favour those taking aggressive action and create existential risks for those still holding on to old ways of doing business,” Forrester warns.

And Forrester predicts that the chief information officer's agenda for 2018 will focus on fully embracing digital transformation, cultivating talent, and implementing (not just testing) new technologies.

It says that the rapid maturation of artificial intelligence, blockchain and conversational interfaces will force organisations to create new customer experiences, transform jobs and forge new partnerships.

“As technology continues to disrupt business, digital will disrupt the role of the CIO. A new breed of digital-savvy CIOs with digital backgrounds will emerge and demand a new title to fit their transformation,” Forrester says.  

The research firm also predicts that AI and Internet of Things will remain hot, “blockchain will simmer, and quantum will gather steam”, while digital business platforms are just “a wave” and companies will either build them or deliver through them.

In a further prediction, Forrester says the pace of automation across industries will pick up significantly around the world in 2018, altering the shape of the global workforce.

Forrester expects the global market for automation will accelerate faster in the New Year as enterprises aim to enhance performance and garner insights from commodity tasks.

And, according to Forrester, automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs but create 2% more and “a political automation backlash” will briefly impede progress – and lose, while bots, backed by AI, will alter traditional information management.

Other predictions for 2018 from Forrester include:

Artificial intelligence: the honeymoon for AI is over: blended AI will Disrupt customer service and sales strategy

CIOs will move away from the lift-and-shift approach to AI tech implementations, and new applications of blended AI will increasingly be used to improve customer service and sales processes in the New Year. In addition, Forrester predicts that AI will make decisions and provide real-time instructions at 20% of firms and will increasingly be used for visual experience.

Blockchain: be ready to face the realities behind the blockchain hype

It says 2018 will be the year CIOs will exploit the potential of blockchain technology. While there will be steady improvement and a few breakthroughs, don’t expect a major leap in technology maturity in 2018. In addition, CIOs, CISOs will pay greater attention to blockchain security, and blockchain will start to transform fraud management and identity verification. Banking processes will also see heterogeneous blockchain adoption in 2018.

Cloud computing accelerates enterprise transformation everywhere

Public cloud adoption will reach a 50% adoption rate in 2018, which is a significant milestone for enterprises. Looking at the factors shaping the cloud computing landscape next year, Forrester also predicts that the market should expect further consolidation through 2020. Enterprises will shift 10% of their traffic from carrier backbones to other providers, and telecom providers will feel the effects.  

Cyber security: businesses will face even more challenges In 2018

Rising tensions in international relations, ubiquitous connectivity, digital transformation initiatives and the data economy will have a large impact on cyber security. Forrester has six predictions for cyber security in 2018, including: Governments will no longer be the sole providers of reliable, verified identities; More IoT attacks will be motivated by financial gain than chaos; and blockchain will overtake AI in VC funding and security vendor roadmaps.

IoT moves from experimentation to business scale

IoT technologies will dictate how companies deliver high-value experiences for their customers next year. Increased consumer adoption and advances in AI are fuelling the improvement of connected devices, and the quality of voice services will boost adoption of IoT devices. In addition, IoT will be at the center of broader and more damaging cyber attacks as hackers seek to compromise systems to extract sensitive data.

Employee experience powers the future of work

An engaged workforce boosts customer experience and revenue performance. While Forrester predicts that employee engagement won't improve in 2018, technology leaders must stay on top of micro trends like collaboration and employee technology as well as macro issues, such as how automation is reshaping labor, as they are thrust into the forefront to help create the conditions for a positive employee experience. 

Mobile evolves into the digital experience conductor

Next year is the year that mobile becomes core to the digital ecosystem. While many firms believe that they've checked the box on mobile, they also should note that what is changing is the next generation of consumer experiences on these devices. Smart firms will continue to invest heavily in the underlying technology: the architecture, talent, and process to deliver these experiences. Emerging tech like AR, AI and chatbots will continue to pique interest but mainstream breakthrough is still further off.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).