Leader or laggard? Digital transformation is set to step up a gear this year. With many of the trends we’ve talked or read about well underway, how businesses respond to the pace this year will determine their positions in the markets they serve.

Those that adapt and keep pace will certainly be leaders in their markets. So, what should companies do to avoid the laggard label?

Digitally Transform your Business

Most companies are in the starting blocks when it comes to transformation. They’ve either done it, are doing it or have a strategy in place. Those who can’t count themselves in any of these three groups are doomed to be left behind as they lose their competitiveness and see their counterparts reaping the investment they’ve made in digital transformation.

Listen to Customers

A customer-led business is a successful business. Understanding your customers’ pain points and executing your digital transformation to solve those pains is a big plus! The Kony Digital Experience Index Survey found that customers are more satisfied when their digital experiences are effortless. In fact, the survey reported that 63% would spend more money when their digital experiences are effortless. That statistic is extraordinary and in itself is an incentive to listen to customers more!

But that same study concluded that businesses are, in fact, not listening to the needs of their customers because only 28% of enterprise digital transformation initiatives are explicitly started with customer needs as a priority. Incredible!

Pay Attention to Key Trends and Drivers

If you’ve been reading about technology developments, you’ll know there’s plenty a business needs to pay attention to in order to stay competitive.

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – there are huge gains (cost and efficiency) to be made by automating cumbersome and costly manual processes. So, using RPA and software bots is a logical progression. It’s not without its risks though. Left unmanaged, they can open enterprises to increased security and regulatory compliance risks.
  • Low-code – yep, you knew it would be on the list. The explosion of apps has created a backlog of work and a solution needs to be found- Low-code is ideal as it speeds things up and opens up the possibility of using citizen developers. According to a report from OutSystems, currently, 41% of enterprises use low-code platforms, with an additional 10% about to start. That was up from 34% in the prior year report.
  • Artificial Intelligence in IT Operations (AIOPs) – it has remained a buzzword for several years now, with very few actual deployments. That’s set to change due to the increasing complexity of IT infrastructure environments (with companies typically using a variety of public and private cloud as well as on-premise) and the interdependence of systems.
  • Microservices Architectures – microservices architectures are now in use by the majority of organisations, with benefits such as improved employee efficiency and customer experience being cited, as well as infrastructure management. The microservice architecture enables the rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large, complex applications. It also enables an organisation to evolve its technology stack.

Staying competitive will continue to be a driver of change in businesses. The leaders of 2020 and beyond need to embrace a variety of new technologies and work out how to combine them with existing methodologies. This and the willingness to prioritise customer needs, combined with the ability to innovate rapidly will help companies stay ahead of the curve. Those that don’t are doomed to be laggards!

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