Back in the 1960s, automation and information technology became realities for the private and public sectors, helping organizations completely transform the ways in which they drive and manage their processes and operations from the ground up. Following five years of intense innovation in these spaces, the world is fueled by a much different range of technologies than have ever been seen, and this is true for collaboration frameworks, unified communications, accounting and much more.
Today, companies are relying on some of the more advanced approaches to infrastructure management to ensure that they can embrace total digitization of business process management, with hybrid clouds playing a more fundamental role in this regard. Enterprise Innovation reported that one study from IDG Research Services revealed digital business strategies are viewed as critical drivers of performance among 92 percent of corporate leaders and decision-makers.
The source noted that more than 80 percent of those decision-makers have already implemented or plan to deploy hybrid IT infrastructure soon to best position themselves for success in the digital era, as so much relies on flexible systems. At the end of the day, this all translates to a private sector that is galvanized in its pursuit of more efficient, advanced and progressive processes using the most advanced automation, cloud and device technologies available on the market.
If you would like a quick explanation of how some of the ways in which digital business processes are improving operations for organizations and consumers, check out this video from Gartner:
The most exciting trends in IT today will almost always rely on intelligent, automated and digitized business processes already in place, including the Internet of Things and advanced analytics. This is why small-business owners need to be highly vigilant and swift in their overhauls of technologies, policies, strategies and operations. With the right approach to these matters, the future will be bright for organizations in virtually every industry.
Investments flooding in
International Data Corporation recently released a report that outlined the ways in which businesses will be investing in digital transformation through the end of the decade, stating that America is leading the way in terms of raw dollars forecast to be spent. Of the $2.1 billion the analysts expect to be spent annually on digital transformation technology by 2019, roughly $732 million will come from the United States alone, showing that the nation is a bit ahead of the curve in this trend.
However, the profound impacts of digital transformation and what the firm refers to as the 3rd Platform will not know any boundaries or borders in the coming years. Global investment is predicted to expand at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 16.8 percent between 2014 and 2019, and this figure might accelerate further given the value of such technologies.
"Digital transformation is not just a technology trend, it is at the center of business strategies across all industry segments and markets," IDC Vice President Robert Parker mused. "Enabled by the 3rd Platform, digital transformation represents a critical opportunity for companies to redefine their customers' experience, achieve new levels of enterprise productivity and create competitive advantage. Enterprise investments in digital transformation will constitute the majority of growth in technology markets over the next five years, making it a priority for technology vendors as well."
Interestingly, certain industries are likely to surpass others in terms of how much is being invested in these solutions. For example, the retail sector's investment volumes are projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent between 2014 and 2019, though the manufacturing industry recorded the highest such commitment of budget last year at $224.7 million.
IDC also affirmed that the main focus of investment will be on stronger workforce engagement, more seamless and rewarding customer experiences, leadership improvements, leveraging data and streamlining business process models. Although the aforementioned industries might be the most active, one of the researchers pointed out that virtually every walk of life will be impacted in one form or another.
"Digital transformation has altered, and will continue to alter, the landscapes of business, education, and government, making this one of the fastest growing areas of technology spending," IDC Customer Insights and Analysis Program Director Eileen Smith stated. "Organizations must apply these technology-enabled changes to unleash productivity gains and significant competitive advantage across their organizations."
Chances are this trend will truly define goals and shape the average business strategy with greater intensity as the years progress through the end of the decade, propelling the private sector into the future.
"The real trick is breaking down traditional barriers."
Opening more doors
The Hackett Group recently released a statement on digital transformation that essentially called upon business leaders to begin thinking outside of the traditional box in terms of their strategies and objectives. Perhaps most importantly, the firm stated that the real trick will be to break down the barriers of antiquated strategic thinking in the sense of people, processes and technology, and finding ways to be even more future-driven.
The company's chief executive officer, Ted Fernandez, argued that linear processes are flying out the window, and being replaced by far more circular types of best practices.
"There's a convergence underway that has the potential to transform existing industries and companies, possibly beyond recognition," Fernandez noted. "Cloud-based infrastructure and applications, virtual business and technology networks and business analytics are coming together with rapidly transitioning employee and consumer bases which that are increasingly adept to new mobile technologies and business models. This convergence is creating tremendous new opportunities for companies that can transform to take advantage of them. We're already seeing substantially altered business models, products and services, dissolving boundaries between some traditional industries, and the creation of entirely new industries."
Small-business owners will need to recognize the opportunities involved in the digital revolution and act quickly to get their companies into the upper echelons of their respective industries.