Digital Transformation: A Look Back at 2017 and What’s to Come in 2018
This is the sixth in a series of blog articles to answer your questions about what digital transformation means for your business and how to get started. In the first article we explored how to weave digital technology into the core of your organization. The second article in the series provides ideas for how to begin, while the third article discusses the concept of having a single view of the customer and how to make it happen. The fourth article discusses how important integrations are to a successful strategy, and the fifth article explores the impact of the B2C subscription services model on the B2B environment.
Yes, it is the end of the year, so I thought I would recap some of the things I have blogged as well as some observations from the past year. I will also explore and share some articles on what to expect in 2018.
Earlier in the year, I tried to give some perspective about what digital transformation really is — or what it should mean for your company. Looking back at 2017, a theme emerged around getting to know your customer, anticipating what they will need and then equipping your organization to meet those needs whenever it interacts with that customer.
Wow! I could have saved four blog posts … just kidding.
Is it that simple? No, it takes much more than that to change the culture of an organization and to digitally transform.
One area in 2017 that I feel became more mainstream than initially thought was the concept of a digital assistant. Initially it was called headless commerce (ecommerce without a browser), but it evolved into more than that. I am, of course, talking about Alexa, Google Home and Siri. I personally started using two of these digital assistants several times per day. Yes, they are still frustrating at times, but they are providing more and more value the more I understand how to use them.
So what does this have to do with B2B? Recent trends have shown us that B2B trends follow many consumer trends. Companies need to start thinking about how this technology will become standard within their operations, sales processes and customer service.
What will 2018 bring?
I have read numerous articles (a few are below) on what is being predicted, and a few things stood out to me. Will these all be dominant in 2018? I’m not sure all will, but a few might. The articles are worth a read.
- IoT will become more pervasive in business. I agree that more and more things will be connected. The FCC recently approved power-at-a-distance charging, further enabling “always on” for devices. This will continue to drive costs down. Analytics will explode in importance for IoT. You have all this data, and you will need to do something to understand and use it.
- Culture — or rather, changing the culture around digital transformation — will determine how successful companies will be. A McKinsey report from 2016 shows that B2B digital leaders have five times (5X) the revenue growth of their peers. Companies need to move even faster and – yes — fail faster, too, in order to succeed.
- NoOPs – this one intrigued me the most. It might not be big in 2018, but I have a feeling it is coming. The concept of NoOps is using AI to run and manage infrastructure — making systems and machines intelligent enough to patch and update themselves. Will this mean machines will run machines? No, Skynet will not become self-aware. It simply means many tasks can become highly automated, freeing up DevOps staff to dedicate more time on complex activities. This in turn will speed up change within organizations.
Here are some of the articles I mentioned:
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Stay tuned for my next blog post, Happy New Year!