Digital transformation worldwide will pick up the pace in 2020. This is despite the thorough planning required to move from legacy IT to digital transformation, which will entail analysing current practices and determining future outcomes. But organizations around the world likely won’t mind all that work, given the benefits of digitalization (e.g., creating new means to communicate with customers and data-driven decision making). With that being said, here are the key digital transformation trends to watch out for in 2020:
1. On to 5G
Futurum Research principal analyst Daniel Newman predicts 2020 to be the year of 5G. Telecommunication giants, such as Qualcomm and Huawei, are already deploying 5G, while companies like Apple and Samsung are now releasing 5G-compatible gadgets. This will mean faster broadband speeds and more reliable mobile networks. It will also accelerate advancements in smart and the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, enabling organizations worldwide to better connect to the digital world. In the UK, Vodafone, O2, EE, and Three have all rolled out 5G. It will continue this 2020, more so with Vodafone and O2 forging a deal to share 5G equipment.
2. Big data gets even bigger
In 2018, the world created around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day. This is why The Enterprisers Project is projecting big data to get even bigger this year. Companies will need to come up with data storage contingencies, while organizations must invest in building insight engines to make sense of data, along with developing tamper-proof ways to manage them as well.
An example of a company leveraging big data is the UOB Bank in Singapore. As a financial institution, it could an incur massive losses without an effective means to assess risks (e.g., clients potentially defaulting on payments, bad loans, etc.). Enter big data-assisted risk management, which helps UOB reduce the time it takes to assess the value of risk (from as long as 18 hours to just a few minutes). The bank's goal moving forward is to make risk analysis in real time. With big data getting bigger, that's entirely possible. Having said that, expect more companies to leverage big data a lot more in their products and services.
3. The rise of AI
ZDNet points out that organizations are heavily investing in AI, and will continue doing so this 2020. In fact, MuleSoft anticipates a 95% growth projection in terms of AI adoption, as it is a powerful tool that personalizes the customer experience, reduces human bias, and automates tasks. Not to mention, AI can also make sense of big data in ways that will benefit companies.
Proof of widespread AI adoption is Materialise, a provider of software and engineering services headquartered in Belgium. Among its most profitable services is SurgiCase, a platform where Materialise engineers create surgical plans for doctors. These are based on AI-assisted analysis of uploaded medical imaging data, and are helping surgeons become more efficient and accurate in their planning. It is a unique use of AI, and illustrates its usefulness in industries outside of tech and engineering.
4. Transforming for sustainability
The World Economic Forum notes that digital transformation can build a sustainable world, as digitalization can help companies adapt their business models towards sustainability. This means using technology to create responsive digital supply chains that can leverage opportunities for sustainable practices.
Today’s technologies are making such transformations possible, and are helping the global supply chain to optimise fuel consumption. In Australia, Verizon Connect explains how engine sensors are combined with GPS-verifiable data to create an automated fuel tax reporting system that allows logistics companies in the supply chain to optimise gas consumption for their delivery fleets. This lowers their carbon footprint significantly, not to mention their operating costs. Use of such technologies, therefore, is likely to pick up as more companies look to be greener.
5. The rise of privacy regulations
High-profile data breaches of WhatsApp, Capitol One, and Facebook have put data privacy front and centre, which is why it will come as no surprise that there will be an increased emphasis on it. In Europe, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will compel more organizations to better address privacy and security issues. Doing so will even be used by organization as a brand differentiator to appeal to security-conscious customers.
That is the case with New York-based startup BigID, who uses machine learning to not only help companies protect customer and employee data, but also comply with the GDPR’s data protection requirements. With privacy now a point of emphasis, expect startups like BigID to play a bigger role in digital transformation across industries.