When it comes to digital transformation, businesses that are ahead of the curve are bullish about a particular set of technologies, according to a report from SAP and Oxford Economics based on a survey of more than 3,000 senior executives.
First, these digital transformation leaders are a rarified breed, according to the SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study. Only 3 percent of respondents have completed digital transformation projects spanning their organizations. More than half (55 percent) are piloting programs, while 22 percent are in the planning stages.
In total, only 100 out of the 3,000 enterprises polled for the study qualified as leaders. Although their numbers are relatively few, their approaches to technology in the workplace presage some major changes ahead for corporate IT departments.
SAP's research found that leading organizations are more likely to embrace artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and big data than laggards.
"Digital transformation leaders are focusing on these technologies because they can redefine end to end business processes on the fly, ultimately resulting in greater revenue, profit, and overall growth," Vivek Bapat, senior vice president and global head of Marketing Strategy and Thought Leadership at SAP, told eWEEK via email. "Considering these benefits, 50 percent of digital leaders are already working with AI and machine learning, compared to seven percent of all others, according to the SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study."
Indeed, AI is poised to go mainstream in a short amount of time, Bapat concluded. "Over the next two years, machine learning will be the fastest-growing breakthrough technology according to the study's findings."
In Bapat's experience, leading organizations are generally seeking deeper insights from their AI solutions. They are also looking to automate repetitive decisions so that their employees can focus on creative and strategic tasks, and are pursuing interaction models like chatbots for more engaging user experiences.
Increasing demand for these advanced IT capabilities represents an opportunity for IT vendors. At SAP, customers are already clamoring for solutions that enable digital transformation, Bapat reported.
"We have seen keen interest from our customers in better understanding the business impacts and outcomes that could be achieved through the myriad benefits of these technologies," said Bapat. "Many of these businesses are looking to lead and redefine the industries they play. The key is to drive innovation with these technologies at scale—not just at the edges of their business, rather putting them at the core of the business functions."
Businesses looking for a definitive edge over the competition are overwhelmingly investing in technologies that help them make data-driven decisions based on the vast amounts of information produced by their IT systems and applications. Ninety-four percent of digital transformation leaders invest in big data and business analytics, compared with 60 percent for all others.
Leading organizations are also adopting IoT technologies in greater numbers. Among top companies, 76 percent have invested in IoT versus 52 percent for other organizations.