by Sanjay Srivastava

5 top trends driving digital agendas in 2018

Jan 30, 2018
Digital TransformationIT StrategyTechnology Industry

Digital technologies will continue to offer companies the opportunity to radically alter their business models, transform operations and create better customer experiences.

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The business solutions landscape is constantly changing, making it hard for CIOs and tech decision makers to stay on top of evolving trends. This is especially true today, with innovation driven by digital technologies. To make the most of digital tools, CIOs need to keep the following five trends in mind to see their companies thrive in 2018 and beyond.

1. Digital transformation is now a boardroom agenda

Because digital technologies reinvent and disrupt entire ecosystems, they disintermediate traditional value chains and new business models emerge. Digital technologies allow companies to innovate and transform at the core of their operating models. With new business models, organizations will require top down board-level engagement in order to drive success beyond just traditional automation initiatives. And this top down focus is opening up new investments in digital technologies.

2. Customer experience is the new battleground

Digital technologies remove traditional differentiators, such as retail proximity or local banking branch advisors, and bring down barriers to entry. At the same time, customer experience becomes a significant area for companies to differentiate. As a result, one of the largest drivers of digital investment is concentrated on improving the buyer’s journey and customer experience.

Already, many organizations have started using technologies like chatbots or mobile apps in the front office to speed up customer interactions. However, they tend to run into roadblocks due to disparate data and requests flooding in to staff, resulting in inefficiencies in the middle and back office. For instance, a bank may let new customers apply for an account directly through a mobile app. But, then it still can take weeks for customers to receive their checking information or debit card.

3. Analytics unlock the value of the new economy

In the competition between disruptors and the disrupted, startups and large enterprises, data across a stable book of business is now unlocking new value. As this trend continues in 2018, we will see more businesses looking to cash in on this new currency. Those that succeed are the companies that know how to how to light up dark data across their enterprise, connecting trends to unlock smarter insights that drive greater business outcomes. IDC suggests that enterprises will be spending $70 billion on big data software by 2020.

Through deep, technical, analytical techniques like clustering, classification, and optimization, there are ways to unlock data’s value to gain a better understanding of results and insights. Clustering is useful in areas such as fraud protection; classification allows business decisions to be made quickly; and optimization can be applied in areas such as proactive maintenance.

Yet technology only solves half of the equation. AI must be contextualized in the domain of an industry, and automation must be built from an understanding of the process. Where does this knowledge come from? People. This is why people will continue to play pivotal roles in digital transformation. Coupled with machine learning that can improve the process from experience, the intersection of AI and domain knowledge will drive success.

4. Narrow AI will become mainstream in the enterprise

More enterprises are beginning to adopt narrow AI over traditional computing. For a long time, the only viable option for programming software was to rules-based programming. Instead, AI lets the computing engine figure out how to program itself. This extremely profound design principle change is shaping the course of the history of enterprise computing. In 2018, narrow AI will start to penetrate the enterprise and everything we do. At Genpact, we are working with an increasing number of AI pilots and projects among clients across all industries.

5. Digital platforms are key to industrializing transformation

An important fundamental technology trend is how platforms are becoming a driver for industrializing digital initiatives in 2018 and beyond. Innovation is now happening at the edge of the ecosystem, not the core. Thus, digital transformation involves bringing in many different technologies that serve as pieces to the puzzle. What’s more, most of those pieces come from different external partners. Thus,

Companies can often invest in technology in a piecemeal fashion and end up not leveraging the investments they make. For instance, robotic process automation will automate a process, then giving access to new data and leading to new investments in data analytics. With this new data, conversational AI can be implemented to respond directly to customers. This process of piecemeal digital investment is very time consuming and expensive. Fortunately, a digital platform can help enterprises future-proof their investments and mitigate risk on their journey to digital transformation.

Digital technologies will continue to offer companies the opportunity to radically alter their business models, transform operations, and create better customer experiences. To leverage various technologies’ full capabilities, CIOs and other senior executives must keep a pulse on the latest shifts in the industry and recognize these five trends – and others to come – to implement successful digital initiatives that drive meaningful outcomes throughout their enterprise.