Digital transformation is more than a buzzword, it’s an imperative.
As the world of work, commerce, and leisure continue to grow increasingly digital, organizations that can’t connect the dots are at greater risk of losing business to competitors who can.
With a global pandemic that threatens to destabilize the economy still underway, the most future-focused organizations are finally acting on the need to transform digitally—and they’re improving both the employee and customer experience in the process.
Here are 5 trends influencing digital transformation in 2020.
1. Nonstop data collection
Data is everywhere—and according to some, it’s the world’s most valuable resource. Under the right conditions, it enables organizations to offer truly customized advertising, marketing, and customer service.
Under the wrong ones, most data goes unused. A global survey of more than 1300 business leaders found that 55 percent of collected data—an amount too large to fathom—remains in the dark.
It’s not leveraged to improve business outcomes. Instead, it sits on a server.
This affords organizations that put data to work with an extreme advantage. Beyond personalization, data has the potential to do what even the most hardworking humans can’t: power countless business processes efficiently and at scale.
For a healthcare worker, this might mean managing patient care in one system instead of three. For a customer service manager, it might mean the routine categorization of support tickets.
As organizations across industries continue to collect absurd amounts of data, those that embrace digital transformation will not only weed out inefficiencies, they’ll also reduce operational costs while enhancing the customer experience.
2. Strategic mergers and acquisitions
For better or worse, the coronavirus pandemic has influenced every aspect of the economy. While some industries like travel and dining suffer, others have experienced record-setting growth.
To understand the impact this has on mergers and acquisitions, Harvard Business Review surveyed 50 senior executives and corporate development leaders about their buying plans—and their findings suggest acquisitions haven’t stopped altogether, but they have become more strategic.
This is underscored by the significant portion of respondents (23 percent) that reported either “no impact in 2020 forecast deal volume” or their intent to “accelerate deal volume” during the rest of the year.
Unlike the majority of those surveyed, these buyers aren’t pausing current deal activity in response to the crisis. Instead, they’re choosing acquisitions based on what will best position them for success after COVID-19.
For many organizations, this means acquiring security solutions to counteract the risks associated with extended work from home. For example, in response to the growing trend of “Zoombombing,” the video conferencing app purchased secure messaging and file-sharing service, Keybase.
For others, digital transformation is another way to turn crisis into opportunity. With an overwhelming majority of the workforce stationed at home, there’s never been a better time for forward-thinking organizations to embrace digital transformation.
Given its ability to increase operational efficiency and help drive innovative business models, investment in digital transformation will hold steady as buyers think strategically about how to thrive in a post-pandemic market.
3. Investments in artificial intelligence
Most executives credit artificial intelligence with boosting productivity. But getting organizations to realize the benefits of AI means more than buying software.
According to Forbes, more than 63 percent of organizations anticipate that pressure to reduce costs will require them to implement AI. Despite these pressures, only 23 percent of these organizations reported using AI in business processes or product and service offerings.
In the wake of rapidly changing work conditions, this number is likely to grow. As organizations across industries realize the benefits of workflow automation, an increasing number of them have embraced it to power repetitive processes and tasks without human involvement.
But as organizations with complex data needs outgrow the limitations of things like robotic process automation (RPA), the need for adaptive workflow solutions becomes an increasingly important component of effectively doing business.
For large enterprises, healthcare organizations, and financial institutions especially, the key to driving digital transformation at scale is intelligent process automation (IPA).
Those that have already augmented workflow automation software with AI have achieved significant benefits—from increased efficiency and cost reduction to improved customer and employee satisfaction.
4. Increased use of cloud-based solutions
Fear of the cloud may linger in select industries, but if the pandemic taught us anything, the need for flexible and accessible tools is no longer negotiable for the modern business.
According to Forbes, nearly 75 percent of CFOs cite cloud computing as having the most measurable impact on organizational goals.
This doesn’t come as a shock. With some of the largest companies transitioning to cloud-based technologies, new and complex business models that support global integration and automation networks have helped them to remain competitive.
Cloud-based BPM solutions are one of the key tools organizations increasingly lean on to accelerate value.
Low and no-code BPM tools pair robust workflow programming with user-friendly, drag-and-drop development environments that empower non-technical workers to build complex automation without burdening their IT department.
As organizations become more likely to purchase third-party platforms than build homegrown solutions, employees across all departments can exchange low-value tasks for high-value ones.
5. Digital incompetency intolerance
Conversations around digital transformation usually center on driving efficiency, operational cost savings, and rescuing employees from routine work.
There’s significantly less talk about what organizations should expect from their workforce as they undergo digital transformation.
Whether select employees refuse to use a password manager or never learn how to use a company-wide tool, it’s not uncommon for organizations to overlook (and inadvertently promote) lax attitudes and behaviors towards cybersecurity best practices.
Making matters worse, many employees believe cybersecurity isn’t their responsibility—and their reliance on IT can ultimately hinder important organizational security goals.
When an IT team spends considerable time teaching (and reteaching) simple technology lessons, the convenience and growth potential of digital transformation is greatly reduced.
To combat these risks, digitally mature organizations leverage cloud-based BPM software that helps manage compliance. From training and certifications to resources that enable the development of secure and scalable solutions, the right BPM tool offers organizations—and their IT teams—measurable peace of mind.