Digital transformation has been the big technology story of the 2020s. Businesses that have embraced this ongoing movement have improved their customer journeys, strengthened their security, and even opened up data analysis to multiple facets of their business.
Reflecting the widespread interest, companies like IKEA, DHL, and Nike have undergone successful digital transformations. Business leaders need to stay on top of these 7 key digital transformation trends moving into 2022.
Also see: What is Data Analytics?
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation describes the business process of transitioning to digital systems for efficiency, scalability, and affordability. This could merely be the transition of outdated systems to third-party digital solutions that make these systems more efficient to run. However, digital transformation, more often than not, requires some level of restructuring for enhanced business operations.
Some examples of digital transformation at play include:
- Transitioning to advanced telecommunications.
- Migrating systems to the cloud.
- Adopting machine learning.
Digital transformation is critical in helping businesses upgrade their operations across the board. Beyond a general upgrade, digital transformation can bring a slew of other benefits for businesses and enterprises.
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Why is Digital Transformation Important?
Digital transformation enables a number of tangible benefits for businesses. These include:
- Stronger network infrastructures.
- Increased opportunities for data visualization.
- Greater efficiency.
- Reduced costs and higher ROI.
- Modern architectures and business models.
A leading reason to adopt digital transformation is the disadvantage of being left behind. Reports show that digitally transformed organizations are projected to contribute to more than half of the global GDP by 2023. That’s over $50 trillion.
Although that places an immense amount of pressure on businesses to adopt digital transformation, business leaders should be wary of jumping in without a clearly structured plan.
Also see: Tech Predictions for 2022: Cloud, Data, Cybersecurity, AI and More
Digital Transformation Trends Shaping 2022
1. Hyperautomation Across the Board
There’s no question that hyperautomation, the practice of integrating automation in every possible facet of business operations, will be at the core of digital transformation. In essence, automation is essential to digital transformation, because it’s the simplest way to reach scalability, efficiency, and reduced costs.
One aspect of digital transformation that has been accelerated by hyperautomation is the AIOps sector. AIOps solutions can centralize data and leverage algorithms to aggregate and correlate alerts. Essentially, AIOps is the evolution of ITOps and has been at the core of many digital transformations.
2. Cybersecurity Transformation
With the rise of 5G and IoT devices on the market today, cybersecurity is finally being pushed to the forefront of business operations and digital transformation. In fact, a 2020 IBM survey of over 4,000 US, EU, and Chinese businesses showed that cybersecurity was the top use case for AI implementation and digital transformation.
Companies like CrowdStrike, Cylance, and FireEye leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect malware and boost cybersecurity. Cybersecurity solutions are often prioritized in digital transformations and will continue to play a leading role in 2022. Major players such as Siemens USA are already using these technologies for their cybersecurity needs as well.
3. The Growth of Artificial Intelligence
If hyperautomation is the driving force behind digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI) is the backbone of hyperautomation itself.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that a majority of systems and solutions adopted under digital transformation are AI solutions. Modern cybersecurity, RPA, and analytics software are all AI-driven. Because of this, organizations are quickly turning to AI to gain competitive advantages.
AI can help with cybersecurity, business forecasting, marketing, and customer support. Experts project the market to grow 54% year-to-year from 2019 to 2025. Expect big gains in 2022.
4. Agility as a Top Priority
As mentioned previously, cybersecurity is a growing concern for a variety of industries adopting digital transformation. This rising concern is prompting businesses to focus on the fact that agility is essential to surviving hacking attacks.
Ginna Raahauge, CIO at Zayo, put it perfectly. “Agility to me translates, at the lowest level, to dynamic coverage or dynamic recovery. Companies will want to get to a point where they’re not preparing for ‘what if’ scenarios, but that they have real actionable steps in mind that are dynamic and will prevent them from suffering through any outages.”
Beyond cybersecurity, increased agility could be the foundation of many digital transformations altogether.
5. Low-Code Tools
Many tools that businesses adopt when going through a digital transformation are considered “Low-Code” or “No-Code.” These are essentially solutions that allow you to build complex systems with little or no coding experience.
The growth of Low-Code tools, heightened by digital transformation, will bring about general employee upskilling across a number of industries. Here are a few other ways Low-Code solutions could shape various industries moving forward:
- Defining clear pain points.
- Selecting and defining proper solutions.
- Forming agile teams.
- Iterating on values.
Low-Code tools could be an effective way to start a digital transformation journey, considering that many third-party solutions on the market today are heavily skewed toward this model.
6. IT Budgets Will Grow
Perhaps a less flashy trend to watch in 2022 is the increase of IT budgets. Make no mistake, digital transformation will ultimately aim to reduce costs, but experts predict worldwide IT spending to reach over $4 trillion by the end of 2022.
This is primarily due to the expectation that more industries will go from buying and implementing third-party software to building in-house tech stacks. These customized tools will be pricey.
Even third-party solutions can be expensive. This is why Low-Code and No-Code solutions could be an effective starting point for businesses looking to embrace digital transformation. Building proprietary solutions and in-house stacks could be costly, but ultimately prove far more effective for business operations.
7. Data Democratization
Beyond all other trends, data democratization will easily be one of the most critical aspects of digital transformation moving forward.
Data democratization promises a future where data is open to any and all to analyze and draw insight. The next-gen tools that digital transformation promotes, such as Low-Code solutions that open up data to teams other than the IT department or data scientists, will help push this idea further.
If fully realized, data democratization can bring actionable benefits for companies, including:
- Customer Intent: As more AI-driven data analytics tools are being adopted, customer intent is becoming easier to identify. Data democratization can provide a wider breadth of insight into customer intent. Data can be analyzed and leveraged by multiple departments, all with different philosophies and approaches.
- Efficiency: Because easy-to-use tools are commonplace within digital transformation and data democratization adoption, businesses will have the ability to, for example, house their data in a single and accessible location. This convenience, alongside a general employee upskilling, will make operations much more efficient.
- Customer Experience: Expect your customer experience to naturally improve due to data democratization. This is because the scope of your understanding of customer intent will only widen as more departments have access to data. For example, customer-facing departments now have access to preferred contacts and previous shopping data could allow sales teams to provide tailored customer service.
Also see: Top Data Visualization Tools