Digital transformation has become a reality for all organizations. Last year we saw enterprises accelerate their digital strategies in multiple ways, including new product launches, high profile partnerships, and transactions enabling new capabilities. Businesses took strategic steps to enter new markets, strengthen their core operations and build new sources of revenues. We saw the future become today with auto pushing deeper into electric, self-driving and connected vehicles, retail stores leveraging entertainment and augmented reality to compete with ecommerce giants, and media and entertainment brands going straight to consumers with new streaming platforms.
In this shifting landscape, digital transformation has become a beacon for companies of all sizes to remain competitive and survive. It’s been an exciting year in digital transformation, but what can we expect for 2020? Here are the big trends to watch.
- Hunt for Talent– Tight labor markets and challenges finding highly skilled tech workers will continue to constrain businesses’ digital transformations in 2020. With every company now a tech company, the competition for talent is stronger than ever. According to a recent study, almost 90% of hiring managers say finding qualified professionals in tech is a top challenge. On a global basis, the data is even more dire. Across Europe for example, the shortage of skilled workers, such as software engineers and digital-savvy technicians, is one of the top issues for businesses. At Orion, we’re addressing the high-tech labor shortage firsthand, growing our ranks of experienced engineering, UX and digital transformation professionals. Our approach is continuous learning, continuous development and training on emerging technologies to meet the growing demand for top tech expertise. Our engineers, designers and technicians are deployed all over the world to help clients execute on their digital transformation and product development efforts.
- The Power of Data & Analytics– Data & AI continue to be a key enabler and driver of Digital Transformation. We are seeing an increasing pace of adoption for enterprise solutions across industry verticals and functional areas. DataOps is the new approach to Data Analytics, with a focus on reducing the cycle time from data to analytics, leveraging data integration at scale, speed and with governance. This is driving a lot of adoption with new features being built in Cloud Data Warehouse, Data Lakes and Data Virtualization. We’re also seeing the adoption of Deep Learning and Semantic Graphs for deriving insights from unstructured data across voice, video, text. The one concern that could slow down digital transformations in 2020 unfortunately is the continued shortage of high-end data scientists and high-end AI/ML/Deep Learning skills.
- Acceleration to the Cloud – We’ve seen an explosion of businesses optimize their operations by migrating to powerful cloud platforms. There are a variety of reasons for this shift, including opportunities to enhance business productivity, improve security and make better, more informed decisions using data analytics crunched in the cloud. At the same time, cloud providers are adding new services and capabilities to attract companies. These range from AI and coding services to applications that support the upcoming transition to 5G. In fact, Microsoft recently noted how it’s Azure platform now has 20,000 customers, and more than 85% of Fortune 100 companies have used Azure AI in the past 12 months.
We are helping companies accelerate their business transformation programs with a cloud-first approach. We are partnering with them on their cloud strategy, migrations and infrastructure management. For one, we’ll see continued interest in a hybrid cloud approach. In the hybrid model, companies organize certain applications in the cloud while keeping other applications on dedicated servers within their traditional infrastructure. This approach allows businesses to gradually convert to the cloud and slowly scale as they gain experience in this new computing environment. We expect more and more companies to embrace the cloud to enhance their business and growth prospects in 2020.
- The Need for Speed with Faster DevOps
Companies continue to struggle when accelerating their software development operations. While many organizations have adopted a DevOps mindset, they’ve fallen short on faster execution, limiting their ability to take full advantage of the framework. Challenges range from cultural inhibitors, fragmented processes, and lack of executive support or clear implementation vision.
However, a new approach to DevOps best practices is emerging. Combining the best of waterfall and agile methodologies is proving to be the most effective process for transitioning to the digital age. At Orion, we have developed and refined our own methodology (O’gile) and technology and tools (a.k.a. Conscious – An awareness tool for project management and self-realization) using these two models that has been iterated over time and has vastly accelerated the development we do for clients. It has enabled organizations to crunch software development timelines from a year to a few months while maintaining the highest quality standards. Speed will continue to be a limiting factor for companies in their digital transformation efforts, and we’re driving the process for clients to fast track their software developments and deployments.
- New Digital Revenue Streams
An uncertain economic outlook has forced companies to pull back on their investments. Heightened trade concerns are keeping a lid on spending. Recent data shows businesses spent far less on capital this year than in years past. With tighter spending and investing, companies are looking for ways to grow their bottom lines with new digital revenues.
In a slowing environment, new digital initiatives have become a critical revenue driver for today’s global businesses. Our team is transforming our clients’ traditional, nonconnected offerings with new digital products and services to complement their core offerings. Expectations are growing for how much digital revenue will account as a percentage of total revenues and we expect that trend to continue in 2020.
Digital transformations are sweeping through every industry, and the fastest movers are gaining a competitive advantage. As more companies look to enhance their operations with digital initiatives in 2020, they need to beware of challenges that can derail their plans. Shortage of talent, unfamiliarity with the cloud and pressure on spending and revenues are among them. To navigate these potential digital roadblocks, it’s critical companies equip themselves with the right partners, strategies, tools and execution capabilities.