2018 promises to be a dramatic year, thanks to one all-encompassing business mega-trend: digital transformation. Here’s how we see things playing out.
There will be winners, losers and total surprises
In 2017 the digital world sent seismic tremors through the retail industry, including the bankruptcy of Toys ‘R’ Us (in US and Canada), Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, and the tie-up between Google and Walmart. The effects of digital transformation are being felt well beyond retail, however, extending to all industries. Our take on the year ahead is that we’re only just starting to see digital transformation in action. Look out for the high-profile failures; get ready to be wowed by ingenious, big-name digital transformation successes; and expect the unexpected. Gartner predicts that “by 2020, 5 of top 7 digital giants will willfully self-disrupt to create their next leadership opportunity.”
Quality Engineering will emerge as the de facto route to digital transformation
Digital transformation can mean different things within different organizations, but one thing is becoming clear — The pressure is on for digital initiatives to deliver more, within shorter cycles. By ‘more’ we mean awesome customer experience, releasing products faster, managing spiraling complexity and reacting to market changes as they happen. One approach is emerging as the clear winner: Quality Engineering (QE), the method of quality control where teams focus on improving the SDLC process in order to improve the end product. The adoption of QE techniques will go hand in hand with the growing uptake in digital transformation initiatives. Read why we love it here.
None of this means anything without… automation
There’s a disconnect in software circles. Organizations dream big about digital transformation, but in the majority of cases, their efforts are being hampered by a reliance on manual testing. In North America and Europe, while Agile adoption stands at 60 percent, just 16 percent of organizations are managing to automate test activities. When you scratch beneath the surface of any of the initiatives that enable faster, better software at scale, you will find that automated testing underpins almost all of them – continuous testing, CI/CD, Quality Engineering and everything IoT-related.
Digital disrupting the talent pool, and what you can do about it
Digital is redefining parameters, processes and technologies faster than HR teams can keep up. Forrester points to talent driving an even bigger wedge between “digital predator and prey” in 2018. It claims, “executives at digital leaders have 90 percent of the talent they need, while those at self-described digital laggards have only 19 percent of the talent they need.” The ability to incubate and otherwise access talent is without doubt a boardroom-level priority for businesses, but organizations shouldn’t underrate the value of training existing staff. The right training shouldn’t be viewed as an overhead; it’s actually a cost reduction measure when you consider the efficiencies gained.
For example, Infostretch recently worked with a large US national bank to train 150 of their employees in CloudBees, which led directly to a 60 percent reduction in support issues.
In 2018, more than half of all Chief Data Officers (CDOs) will report directly to the CEO. Big-data initiatives are no longer nice-to-haves, they’ve become mission critical. The pressing issue in enterprises today is that a huge proportion of data goes unanalyzed. Forrester puts the proportion at a staggering 67 percent. We can now change that. Combining the power of cloud processing with big-data analytics enables companies to unlock the stories hidden in their structured and unstructured data. It’s not just business insights enterprises stand to gain. Big-data initiatives are being used to simplify and streamline data streams, reduce complexity and drive down Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
NoOps, the new normal
There’s a new buzzword doing the rounds, and it relates to the steady progression towards abstraction, virtualization and automation of everything, even infrastructure. “Software has eaten the world of infrastructure,” according to Forrester. So what can software, operations and DevOps teams expect in 2018? Infrastructure as Code, NoOps, DevOps in the Cloud… these terms all point to a simpler way of managing and provisioning systems. The cloud-model way of provisioning may take some getting used to. Also DevOps pros need to be prepared to adjust tools combinations for optimal performance. Check out our blog on how to get started, the main tool considerations to bear in mind and our handy tool selector.
IoT in everything
That’s how Gartner recently put it, estimating that by 2020, IoT technology will be in 95 percent of electronics for new product designs. But how much value are enterprises reaping? IoT creates a whole new set of development and testing challenges. Even more fundamentally, IoT initiatives require a rock-solid business case and strategy. While investment pours into this area, expect a lot of it to go to waste, thanks to insufficient planning and testing.
Screens are so 2017
In 2017, commentators were prone to proclaiming the death of the mobile app. Gartner believes that by 2019, 20 percent of brands will abandon their mobile apps, for instance, and that by 2021 more than half of enterprises will spend more on bots and chat bots than traditional mobile app development. This doesn’t come as a surprise: Infostretch has always maintained that voice is the most natural command center there is, and will eventually replace the graphical interface. But what it does mean is that 2018 will be a crunch time for bots. Significant focus and investment by software teams means bots are the latest battleground for delivering awesome CX. However, the foibles of natural language are notoriously hard to interpret and mimic. 2018 will see digitally mature companies win big with chat and voice bots, but there will be equally big bloopers ahead from firms who just don’t get it quite right.
A home for digital transformation
Digital transformation is happening but many enterprises still feel isolated in their journey to digital maturity. There’s no shortage of advice, but it is nonetheless challenging to gain a sense of industry-wide best practices, benchmarks, or even just the “dos and don’ts” that arise from trialing something new, tweaking it and then trying again. For enterprises who wish there was one place to go for everything related to digital transformation, there soon will be. Stay tuned for more information in the new year!
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