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How digitally-ready businesses will innovate with technology in 2019

Forty-nine per cent of IT leaders in organisations say that their business model has changed or is in the process of changing due to digital transformation, according to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda: Secure the Foundation for Digital Business. And 89 per cent of the top performing businesses measure the ROI of digital investments, and favour consumer metrics as an indicator of success.

In 2018, the acceleration in organisations investing in digital readiness was incredible. According to the Gartner report, in one year the number of businesses that reached digital scale almost doubled, jumping from 17 per cent to 33 per cent.

Huawei has been in the middle of the accelerating demand and appetite for digital transformation. With 211 Fortune Global 500 companies, and 48 Fortune Global 100 companies amongst its customers, Huawei’s ongoing investments in R&D and innovation in areas pertinent to digital transformation, including analytics[1], Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI)[2], servers and data centres[3], storage and flash memory[4], and intent-driven networks[5], means the company can help organisations realise their digital transformation goals in a comprehensive and holistic manner by engaging with the one vendor.

A spectacular example of digital transformation in the enterprise are smart cities – effectively digitally transformed cities, and they are attracting huge interest. The Smart City Expo World Congress 2018 in Barcelona attracted record crowds of more than 20,000 visitors and 400 speakers, representing 700 cities across the planet.[6] Here, too, Huawei is playing a crucial role in providing the platforms and foundations to enable true innovation and digital readiness among the world’s most innovative cities.

What’s next in digital transformation?

Digital transformation allows an organisation – private or public - to better leverage technology for the customer’s benefit. In 2019 we will start to see the value of those investments. For example, Gartner research shows that throughout this year and next, there will be a significant increase in the number of organisations with Chief Data Officers, so that by 2021 75 per cent of large enterprises will see the CDO as a mission-critical function comparable to IT, business operations, HR and finance. Furthermore, budgets for the CDO are on the rise, and CDOs are shifting their focus from risk mitigation to value creation.[7]


For organisations and cities that are not yet digitally transformed, much of 2019 will be focused on establishing the infrastructure for digital readiness. Those organisations that have not yet shifted to flash storage (capable of handling extreme data flows at a speed that conventional storage cannot, and essential for the data-heavy use of technology in a digitally ready business) and intent driven networks to enhance the scalability, reliability and capacity of the underlying network, will be targeting investments towards that infrastructure layer.

Organisations and cities that have digitally transformed will shift focus towards the application layer, which is where the greatest value from digital transformation, including AI, Internet of Things (IOT), Big Data and analytics, are delivered.

An example of digital transformation driving meaningful results into 2019 can be seen with Tianjin Binhai New Area Smart City where it is allowing the city management to gain a micro-understanding of the needs of both industrial and residential constituents to deliver better health and economic outcomes. Huawei’s ICT Insights, Issue 23, reports:

“The Smart City solution uses cloud computing, Big Data, and AI to offer services that were not possible before. The ‘1 + 4’ solution, with an AI platform at the core, was designed by TEDA and implemented with Huawei’s support for processing, communication, and in-depth mining with the goal to maximally integrate information about people and things via the ‘City Brain’ Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC).

“The analysis performed by the IOC delivers the following three benefits. First, a real-time dashboard visualizes the moment-to-moment status of the local area for city managers. Second, decision-making tools analyse and offer optimisation solutions to high- and low-level decision makers. For example, heat maps illustrate residential activity to help officials precisely site new commercial or industrial construction. Third, the IOC hosts a suite of technical monitoring, warning, and event-linkage responses based on scientific protocols, which are especially important for complex accidents or emergencies.” (Read more about the project, and technology solution, here[8])

Being prepared for the year ahead

The rate of technological change is only accelerating. As we saw in 2018, with a technology such as blockchain moving from a niche concept to a major point of interest for many organisations, the rapid rate of change means throughout the year, new ideas and applications will emerge that may give early adopters a significant competitive advantage.

A digitally transformed organisation has the robust, reliable, scalable and agile platform that it needs to capitalise on new opportunities in technology as they arise. One of the big stories of 2019 will be the widening divide between digitally-ready organisations and those trying to catch up.

[1] https://www.cio.com/article/3281378/it-industry/how-banks-are-looking-to-their-foundations-to-take-digital-leadership.html

[2] https://www.cio.com/article/3281011/it-industry/how-intelligent-it-inspires-a-digital-future.html

[3] https://www.cio.com/article/3309936/it-industry/how-fortune-global-500-companies-are-grappling-with-technological-disruption.html

[4] https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.cio.com/article/3321922/it-industry/how-the-new-levels-of-performance-in-modern-flash-storage-benefits-business.html

[5] https://www.cio.com/article/3290380/it-industry/intent-driven-networks-the-new-hot-datacentre-tech.html

[6] https://www.cio.com/article/3322500/it-industry/what-the-future-of-smart-cities-looks-like.html

[7] https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3835963

[8] https://e.huawei.com/en/publications/global/ict_insights/201806041630/features/201808131508

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.