The importance of digital transformation keeps growing, so in 2018 we will see many businesses focused on a single goal: offering a perfect digital experience to as many customers as possible. Companies now need to employ flexible and fast development pipelines while they explore brand new technologies like Artificial Intelligence. At the same time, DevOps principles and practices are adopted to increase results when going up against the competition and meeting customer demands.
We can expect 2018 to be a strong year for digital transformation. We are already aware of various trends that have a remarkably high possibility of becoming a reality. Let’s discuss them, so we know what to expect.
A New Main Priority: Customer Obsession
Customer obsession basically means knowing as much as possible about the potential and current customers. At the moment, most businesses that think they hold such information, do not. Such companies merely know that customers exist and that they have values or priorities. There is a lack of a fundamental understanding when referring to customer needs and wishes.
The customer-awareness model is flawed, so organizations try to use technology in order to evolve towards customer obsession. The main question that needs to be asked: “How will this benefit a customer?” Combine customer obsession with the Platinum Rule and results are sure to follow.
In 2017 we saw businesses slowly realising the importance of offering what clients need, and in 2018 digital transformation will help finally reach a customer obsession level.
Artificial Intelligence To Drive Business
A 2018 digital transformation trend (quite obvious for industry professionals) will be the continuing development of AI and its use to impact decisions when combined with big data. According to a report by Forrester, over 50% of businesses implemented at least one AI project in 2017 and 20% of businesses want to do this in 2018.
The most common example of using artificial intelligence in digital transformation is the implementation of a chatbot, which is capable of responding to customers questions in a way that is human and intuitive. Some examples of effective chatbots can be seen here.
Data is the core of using AI in business. Organizations have to keep gathering data and much more of it is needed now than in the past. At the same time, it is important to transform the data into real actions. This is possible through automation and artificial intelligence. Modern digital transformation combines data analysis, AI and customer obsession.
Faster Development Cycles With A Focus On Speed
Up until now, the approach of most businesses was to offer something that was as perfect as possible. This culture is very strong, leading to products that are bulletproof. The problem is that this approach leads to slow development cycles. Rapid innovation is not possible and business growth often stagnates. Innovation, fast learning and speed are three main factors businesses will be focusing on in 2018. This is fundamental, as the competition between businesses in all industries is higher than ever.
With the use of faster development cycles we end up with businesses that can quickly create, test and release new products. Then, data can be collected and analyzed at high-speed rates. The overall product becomes better while user experience is improved. Even the team working on projects becomes more effective as people become more engaged. Reinvesting into continuous evolution and development becomes vital for modern businesses.
Simply put, we will see fewer new products and more updates for existing products.
Increased Priority Of Agility And Testing
In 2017 we saw a large increase in the number of businesses that started using software development techniques in development processes. Agile methodology was particularly popular, especially its premise that power is used to make incremental changes. In an attempt to offer more features and increase results, new products and services were developed. As various releases appeared and gradual changes were made, the need to deal with emerging conflicts and bugs appeared. Organisations now have to upgrade their approach and a solution is using DevOps.
DevOps wants to create a pipeline that is made out of steps that have low friction. Coding needs to be frictionless. At the same time, monitoring, deploying and testing have to be simple. The creation of a pipeline that is frictionless, with automatic testing and reports is approachable and effective in modern digital transformation. Testing is vital and will be used more and more so that organizations can deliver more quality in a shorter period of time through upgrades to products already launched.
Basically, in 2018 we will see businesses moving away from Agile and using DevOps.
Blockchain Technology Implementation
Last but not least, Blockchain technology keeps gaining popularity. In 2018 we will see the financial industry looking for ways to use it and take advantage of all that it offers. This is a given, but there is also a strong possibility that other industries will invest in it, like entertainment and healthcare. Financial specialists believe that around 20% of finance global trade will happen through Blockchain technology by the year 2020. 2018 might very well be the first year when Blockchain is more widely accepted in other parts of business besides finances.
Businesses that do not adapt and do not fully embrace digital transformation will fall behind their competition. You need to stay ahead of trends so some key takeaways to remember include:
- Look for inefficiencies in deployment, testing and development. Your aim is to create a strong, effective environment in which businesses can quickly respond to specific customer needs.
- Constantly release updates as opposed to a complete, new product.
- Collect as much information as possible about customers so you can swiftly offer exactly what they need.