2019 – Trends I’m watching – Part II – Digital Transformation

A few weeks ago I published 2019 – Trends I’m watching – Part I covering my perspective and predictions in regards to the following Macro trends –

1 – OSS (Open Source) business and revenue models are changing

2 – Public Cloud Application Architecture battling between “Open and Flexible” vs. “Time to Value” –

3 – The Cloud is maturing (Private, Hybrid and Public)….The Hardware market is growing fast and differentiation is coming down to software

4 – Enterprise Application software vendors continue to acquire across the CI/CD, Analytics and AI space to drive revenue growth and simplify integration for customers

5 – Virtual / Digital Assistants (Alexa, Siri, Google) are evolving and maturing quickly and showing strong potential for enterprise application

In today’s post I am going to dive deeper into some of the trends that I am calling out as key talking points and priorities for business leaders specific to accelerating their Digital Transformation agenda in 2019. Let’s jump in!

TREND #1 – CEOs and Board Members are increasingly demanding demonstrated digital evolution – While talk of “Digital transformation” may seem like old news to many within the walls of the boardroom there is increased focus on demonstrable results. Here are some examples of the kind of improvements that senior business leaders are looking for to prove that their transformation is underway –

  • Tangible Revenue streams tied to new digital engagement models
  • Visible improvements in customer satisfaction tied to deeper insights
  • Lower costs tied to an evolution from descriptive to prescriptive analytics
  • Better Quality tied to smart manufacturing
  • Increased security of people and assets tied to video analytics
  • Efficiency and increased governance of sensitive data across the Data Center and the Public Cloud
  • Accelerated expansion both organically and inorganically tied to IT Agility

TREND #2 – Fast and Reliable Network Connectivity (5G) everywhere allows “Internet of People” to embrace the “Internet of Things” – 2019 promises to bring 5G fixed connectivity to life with 5G mobile expected in 2020. This transition from 3G/4G to 5G is about much more than speed (2-3X as fast) but a significant decrease in latency (4-5X less). Why is this so important? Speed improvements mean that organizations will be able to bring more devices online than every before without a degradation in service levels. In addition to speed, Latency improvements will drive “real-time” use cases to reality.

How could these improvements accelerate digital transformation for the enterprise?

  • Organizations will be able to extend the network to more devices than ever before bringing analytics and automation to the edge
  • Video conferencing and “tele-presence” will finally reach a tipping point and lead to widespread adoption across the enterprise
  • Software-as-a-Service market will continue to expand due to improved QoS for all remote workers
  • New use cases will emerge based on the increased speed and decreased latency (i.e. remote surgery, remote security enforcement, geographic collaboration for remote workers)
  • Video will continue to expand in use and quality with 4k/8k bringing virtual tours to life and even empowering the drone market as next generation delivery and surveillance

TREND #3 – AI shows early signs to be a catalyst of digital transformation – Analytics become the enabler) Although we are several years away from the onslaught of machine learning and artificial intelligence we are already seeing use cases evolving with proven results and Im expecting to see adoption of these use cases expand in 2019 –

  • Deployment of “autonomous things” across the corporate world (Robotics, Vehicles, Drones, Appliances) improving security, safety, visibility everywhere
  • Continued maturity and leverage of NLP (Natural Language Processing (Siri/Alexa) with a focus to up-level and support human agents, not replace them
  • Mainstream adoption of video analytics saving human lives, protecting key assets and helping organizations to better serve their customers and get a better return on their overall assets (real estate, facilities)
  • Continued interest in digital twins to give corporations deeper insight into how their products are being used in the “Real World” and build a deeper relationship with their clients post-sale.

TREND #4 – Blockchain moves beyond “Hype” and emerges as a “Private System” with a consortium of players – Over the last few years we have seen quite a bit of hype tied to blockchain being everything to everyone and promising to replace proprietary and complex databases with simplified and distributed ledgers. Blockchain also powered the crypto-currency craze of 2017/2018 driving even more visibility (and an interesting financial boom and bust).

Personally, while I don’t support the assertion that blockchain will “eat the world” I do see significant opportunity here for the enterprise specifically in relation to industry driven consortiums leveraging it for simplified service delivery. Banking is an obvious area for this in relation to settle security and forex transactions (click here to read about HSBC’s use case). Food safety and supply chain are also great use cases (click here to read about Ford’s use case to assure quality control and fair competition for cobalt supplies tied to electric vehicles)

In 2019 I would expect to see a handful of solid use-cases mature within the financial services and legal industries. Ild expect these to be private solutions launched and governed by large industry players.

TREND #5 – Compliance grows teeth and expanding GDPR legislation drives privacy to the forefront and becomes an essential part of a corporations brand Image –  In 2018 we saw the launch of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) “providing the right for all European citizens to be forgotten”. Since then we have seen similar legislation emerge in both California and Japan . Couple this with the negative press associated with companies who have mis-used or had breaches with their customer data and its clear this is an executive level discussion.

The emerging growth in data has the promise to deliver tremendous benefits to not just the enterprise bottom line but consumers and society as a whole. That being said, with this opportunity comes a responsibility for all enterprises to understand what data they are collecting, be transparent about how they are using it, offer consumers the ability to opt-out and secure it effectively at all times.

GDPR is not about achieving a “minimum level of compliance”. Its about committing to a sound strategy about how organizations collect, use and secure their data within the Data Center and the Cloud. Those that do it well will be rewarded by the customers with increased business and loyalty.


One thought on “2019 – Trends I’m watching – Part II – Digital Transformation

  1. Darrel Kent

    I would anticipate one of the leading edges leveraging these trends will continue to be gamers – RPG, Alt-life (think Pokemon on steroids), et al. Virtual table tops, mobile realities will require or leverage 5G, AI, ML, Blockchain, Apps……

    Ready Player One…..!


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