Digital transformation takes center stage

Immersive technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, augmented reality and virtual reality are raising the bar for digital transformation

2017, however has been unique so far, as ‘transformation’ doesn’t really mean to be an end in itself, but the only means of survival. From artificial intelligence to augmented reality to virtual reality to cloud computing, the process of digital transformation has captured our imagination so quickly. 

Payments space in India is the biggest example of how the digital transformation has been adopted in the country. Banks have already transformed into mobile transaction enablers through UPI, whose integration with Aadhaar, can make digital payments as simple as sending a message. Digital wallets are transforming into payments banks. From paying for toll to settling parking charges, purchasing food or fashion, paper money is transforming into digital money.

Smartphone proliferation, a stable 4G ecosystem and an increasingly powerful cloud are driving traction and appetite for digital transformation. India, with its vibrant mobile ecosystem and insatiable appetite for technology, has risen to become the most digitally mature nation, as seen in a recent EMC survey.

The enterprise has to adapt, and fast. 2017 so far has been a landmark year with change (DX – digital transformation), collaboration (industry clouds), and ambient intelligence (AI meets IoT) preparing us for a future where the lines between digital and physical are not blurry, but indistinguishable. 9 in 10 Indian enterprises have already witnessed the rise of new competitors in the digital world, and in order to survive and compete, transformation will be key.

The industry will move to a more evolved thinking framework where technology will be seen as a tool to create elaborate and compelling user experiences. The imperative for enterprise is not to stay ahead of the curve, but to build an environment that embraces, nurtures and takes control of technological advances – an ‘always-on’ incubator of progress. After all, to finish with an ever-prescient phrase, change is the only constant. 

Here are some of the trends which have impacted the business in the current year and is expected to do the same in the future.

Dedicated digital transformation teams:

The year 2017 has seen the need for companies and countries to become digital natives. Previously, Indian enterprises hindered on digital transformation journey by immature digital culture, lack of budget and resources and lack of right technologies to work at the speed of business. Nearly half of them don’t measure their digital transformation success. In 2017, this will be addressed by dedicated teams to drive this digital transformation at scale.

Organizations that build environments to create powerful context-aware applications with seamless integration across platforms, devices and, most importantly, user types, will enjoy first-mover advantage as the technology race comes to a head. But that’s not all. As is the case with any trend that reaches a critical mass, this too will result in the emergence of a compliance industry. The year promises of stringent and elaborate benchmarks for enterprise DX. Striking a balance between empowering, monitoring and policing DX standards will be essential for compliance and policymaking bodies to gain acceptance. 

Cloud as an accelerator to drive growth:

Cloud has been a constant driver of business growth as in the recent months we have seen organizations switching to cloud environments. Collaborative clouds, platforms on which companies can work together to drive industry goals, are set to triple in number by 2018. Increased collaboration may also result in custom hybrid tech stacks that combine offerings from one or more companies to service niche clients. 

With public cloud services expected to touch $1.8 billion in India by the end of the year, the nation has witnessed several players setting up local data centers. Stability and security will play a significant role in the growth of collaborative clouds as will the development of policy, specifically IP policy, to create a robust governance and resolution framework. 

As the cloud becomes more commoditized and powerful, we will see a shift in the IT distributor business model. Brokered deals will be a large revenue stream for companies looking to function as strategic partners over mere platform/service providers. There may even be room for cloud services to enter the shared economy space where platforms that aggregate cloud providers gain trust through crowd sourced ratings, ease of implementation and real-time data on performance and stability. In fact, 86% of Indian enterprises are relying on system integrators, value added resellers, consultants and other partners to help them in their journey.

Cybersecurity to protect data:

As the boundaries between private and public IT infrastructure; hardware and services; enterprises and consumers; humans and machines dissolve, threats will even further transform. The motivation for cyber attacks has never been higher; with the recent ransomware attacks plaguing various nations and compromising national security and data loss. With uncertainty in the global environment, cyber sabotage and espionage are very real threats. 

At the same time, security transformation will present new methods of anticipating and responding to attacks in a predictive and proactive manner. Data protection has emerged as an important measure with the recent cyber attacks due to which various isolated recovery solutions are being deployed by several organizations.

Intersection of innovation accelerators:

The growth of the sector will be driven by the new age IT environment; technologies like the immersive AR/VR, cognitive AI, IoT and blockchain go mainstream as innovation accelerators. IoT and AI have been long discussed as conceptual possibilities but now it will show us their impact as mainstream technologies. As a distributed computing system resistant to modification by design, blockchain is set to transform more than currency, as some advocates suggest, with security, services and government just some of the sectors set to be disrupted. 

Augmented humanity to human biosystems:

We have already seen the impact of technology on wellness. The humble heart rate monitor has morphed into a social device that measures holistic wellness including even sleep patterns and mood. Going forward we will see a shift from monitoring and measurement, to enhancement and rich context, as companies start to integrate technology into the human body, specifically wearables that pre-empt needs. The healthcare tech industry in India is in pole position to disrupt current systems of detection, prevention and delivery, where systemic inefficiencies have prevented their benefits from reaching citizens. 

Immersive marketing and UX: 

Experience is now the differentiator between homogenous commoditized products and services. Personalization has never been more valuable as the corporate world fights the battle for relevance over preference. Attention is the new currency and brands will quickly need to move to an immersive UX-led model of marketing over engagement and reach-based outreach. 

Enterprise marketing may no longer be the stronghold of the seasoned B2B marketer and will open itself up to creative technologists, data scientists and behavioral economists. These hybrid teams will look to harness technology, big data and human psyche to create captivating experiences that drive brand and product salience. 

Therefore, as digital disruption continues to take place and acceleration of emerging technologies continues to enhance our capabilities, the era of human-machine partnership will only evolve with time. The year 2030 will mark the new era of human-machine partnership where the emerging technology would have disappeared into the background conditions of everyday life.

Author: Rajesh Janey, President & Managing Director, Dell EMC India


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