In the world of technology, nothing stands still. New trends arrive on the scene all the time. It is vital to stay informed and ahead of the curve. But there is a straightforward way of zeroing in on the digital transformation your organisation actually needs, and it comes back to what the user wants.
Now, user wants and needs are constantly evolving themselves. However, take your eyes off the customer, and there is nothing to underpin your digital transformation and ensure its success.
We explore the top tech trends that should be on your radar as a transformation leader. And when it comes to staying aligned with user wants and needs, there is one trend, above all others, that will help – stick around to the end to find out more.
Defining digital transformation
According to CIO.com, we can sum up digital transformation as the ‘rethinking’ of how businesses use and engage with people, processes and technology. Whether that’s the building of new digital products or the development of new, leaner business models, transformation should always be in the name of meeting customer expectations and opportunities for growth.
Changes in consumer wants and desires are the real drivers behind digital transformation. And if your transformation isn’t centred around a clear customer focus, then the likelihood of it flopping is much higher.
Transformation trends to look out for
While customer expectations are essential to successful transformation, you need to start by understanding the landscape. Knowing what is out there in terms of new technology and process will give your transformation program the edge it needs to pivot faster and stay ahead of the competition. Here are seven digital trends to keep tabs on.
Data is the new fuel; CPDs are the engine
If there is one thing powering today’s customer-centric economy, it’s data. Data is the fuel. But where there is fuel, we need engines. And that is where Customer Data Platforms, or CPDs, come in.
A group of ERPs, CRMs and marketing automation tools, CPDs are essentially big data warehouses. They pull together and process customer information, playing a pivotal role in understanding customer needs and drivers. From clarifying product development strategies to adjusting marketing campaigns on the go, CPDs can do a lot for organisations.
In 2020, CPD deployment jumped up to 29% across organisations, which signals leaders are seeing them as a smart, strategic investment moving forward.
The bottom line: Yes, CPDs are a great investment, but they are also complex. They involve the coordination of processes, systems, and stakeholders. Becoming familiar with these systems and how you can better harness them to understand your users is one of the best ways of staying competitive.
5G is catching fire
Yes, the hype surrounding 5G is real. It has been hinted at for years, but the pandemic and home working have finally made it apparent – this technology is here to stay. An increase in digital collaboration and video conferencing means we need more bandwidth and a reliable connection.
Providing unprecedented levels of speed and connectivity, 5G is the internet superhighway that is set to catch fire over the next few years, becoming a staple technology business everywhere will rely on.
The bottom line: Your business can no longer afford to be disconnected. The pandemic may have momentarily disrupted 5G rollout, but now places like China are catching up and meeting their targets. Make sure your business is ready for this acceleration and that user needs do not suffer in the process.
Blockchain is evolving
Over the next few years, blockchain is set to play a pivotal role in how businesses function and adapt to shifts in customer needs. Once inseparable from cryptocurrency, blockchain has matured significantly and is set to evolve and expand as its own independent form of technology into other industries. In India, a panel was recently formed to explore this very impact.
And it seems that there could be many uses for blockchain beyond digital currency, from insurance and healthcare to the transformation of supply chains and how we store digital assets and confidential information.
The bottom line: The impact of blockchain is something organisations, governments and think tanks are still trying to appreciate. That makes it vital not to lose sight of the user and where they fit into the blockchain picture.
It is all about the multi-cloud
Cloud migration is nothing new. But we’re moving beyond the single-vendor model to hybrid and multi-cloud systems. In fact, these systems are set to explode over the next couple of years as businesses attempt to work around the barriers and lock-ins individual vendors present.
This fresh approach allows businesses to distribute software, assets and application across multiple platforms, both public and private. The result? Operational flexibility enhanced security and decreasing reliance on ageing legacy systems. However, going multi-cloud isn’t without its challenges.
The bottom line: CIOs and CTOs will need to find creative ways of supporting their growing tech stacks while funding the transition from old systems to newer, more user-friendly platforms.
Cybersecurity gets a serious upgrade
Hackers exploited the pandemic. In particular, banks weathered a 238% rise in cyber while cloud attacks rose 630% in the first quarter of 2020. As more people and organisations choose to work from home, the liabilities increase on all business fronts. All of this is creating an urgent need for enhanced security infrastructure.
The bottom line: If your company is undergoing significant digital transformation, then this is even more critical. Make sure that any rollout of new technology happens in tandem with security upgrades and that prioritising the safety of user information is top of the list.
The future of AI is here
When the pandemic hit, governments and companies turned to AI, data and machine learning to help. That accelerated the spread and democratisation of quite possibly the most transformative technology on this list.
AI is already baked into many of the devices, platforms and applications we use. And as computing power becomes more affordable and accessible, more businesses will stand to benefit from its uses.
The bottom line: It is inevitable – AI will impact our lives, which makes putting the user first paramount. Digital transformation leaders won’t just have a vested interest in meeting customer needs here; they will have a duty of care towards users experiencing the applications and monitoring effects of AI.
It all comes back to a great user experience
At the very beginning of this blog, we mentioned that of all these transformation trends, there is one you simply cannot do without – and that is becoming customer-focused with user experience.
Keeping your user’s thoughts, feelings, issues and expectations at the core of everything you do is crucial to the longevity of your operations. And while this can be labelled a trend, it is a way of doing business that we believe is here to stay.
Becoming user-centred is perhaps the most valuable transformation your organisation can undertake. By responding to what your customers want, you’re ensuring retention and growth that will result in your company thriving for years to come.
One of the best ways to address these opportunities for growth is through user experience. At LION+MASON, we have helped a number of businesses successfully transform their product and service experiences with in-depth customer research, UX strategy, innovation and digital product design, prototyping and testing. We have seen first-hand how successful digital transformation can be when it is backed up by clear customer-centred intent.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the digital landscape is constantly evolving. We have only covered a few of the trends set to shape business over the coming years – so we highly encourage you to keep exploring what might impact your business’s future.
But if there is one thing that remains true no matter the trend, it is the importance of your customers – who they are, what drives them and what they need. They should be the true instigators of any digital transformation within your organisation. Only when transformation happens in tandem with their wants and needs will it be effective and successful in generating growth.