The prospects may be increasing this year for organizations to see greater returns on their technology investments and transformation efforts. Verizon put together a perspective on trends in enterprise IT transformation it foresees may take hold in 2020. One of the central sentiments expressed by the communications provider is that organizations that focus on chasing efficiency but eschew innovation risk being left behind as other companies embrace new possibilities.
The possibilities that innovation offers could soon start to bear fruit, according to Verizon’s insights. The digital transformation that many CIOs have worked in the last three to five years was all preparation for what is to come, says Michel Dupre, group vice president of retail for hospitality, travel, and distribution for Verizon. Now CIOs need to think about how they will approach the next phases of their operations. “How do they plan for today, based on either the investments they’ve already made or investments they need to make in the near-term that need to be foolproof for three years down the pike?” she asks. “That’s key to setting the right strategy.”
There might be additional expertise on hand to help with such strategies. Many organizations have hired chief digital officers, Dupre says, at times partnered with the CIO but focused on digital. The possibilities digital presents can include analytics of the data being gathered, she says, creating an opportunity for organizations to make business decisions based on that information.
Volumes of data will continue to grow, at times exponentially, and Dupre sees ways to extract relevant data within an application-based environment. Applications may also become intelligent enough to use such data to advance on an outcome, which could be of particular use in edge computing. “The data will drive how the application behaves with you on a personal level,” she says.
The brief insights and possibilities Verizon propose are just one organization’s perspective on how digital transformation may shape up in 2020, but these ideas carry plausibility.
1. Back to Basics on Tech Investment
Verizon foresees a return to investing in technology that meets basic and core needs within organizations. There may be room for applying some tech investment into efforts to appease customers. That is where specialized technology such as virtual reality could come into play to humanize interactions by giving customers a digital face to respond to rather than mere text.
“A few years ago, this was all too expensive. But now, we can deploy tech to help make life easier, save time and focus business operations on the personalized needs of the individual.”
2. Manage Uncertainty with Tech
Forgiving the cliché, the current sociopolitical and economic climate could be described as “living in uncertain times.” Organizations may be hungry for resources to help navigate the days ahead. Verizon believes there may be ways for technology to guide enterprises through uncertainty and uncover opportunities. In particular, software-defined networks could give organizations flexibility to accommodate the expansion of operations. “It’s all about giving organizations the ability to turn on a dime, enabling network and technology investments quickly and efficiently.”
3. Rearchitecting the Cloud
The rise of multi-cloud environments may mean organizations could feel the need to reassess and rearchitect their infrastructure, according to Verizon. There is a natural desire to take advantage of agile computing made possible through multi-cloud and there is also a chance to efficiently containerize and deploy applications through mobile-edge computing. “Virtualized connectivity is the objective.”
4. Tackling Data Gravity
The explosive growth of data is not a new development, but Verizon says the advent of 5G communications could open the door for extremely high volumes of it to move across the network. The concept of data gravity means software and services may be drawn to massive stores of data. There may be too much data at times to funnel into applications, requiring a change in approach by sending the application to the data. “In an age of edge computing and distributed analytics, applications will need to become data-centric, and managing data location and security will be a key priority.
5. Finding Insight and Control
The new approaches and possibilities that unfold will increase the need for control, Verizon says. In some cases, applications and data will behave in ways that require more robust automated policies to oversee it all and understand what happens if something gets off track. “Organizations will need to get insight and control of end-to-end application performance, and how that relates to the application user, to be able to capitalize on the potential of their network environment.”
6. New Operating Model
Procurement of IT assets may start to look different as virtualization takes off, says Verizon. The possibility will grow for multiple vendors to work with organizations rather being locked in. This may add complexities that need to be managed. Delivering customer outcomes will be the primary focus, so it’s all about making it easier for the customer to solve their issue.”
7. Customer Connections Cross Multiple Mediums
How the customer communicates with a company continues to evolve thanks to the myriad of mobile and online channels available. In the earliest days of digital, email and SMS messages were cutting edge. Verizon says that interaction has expanded across multiple social media and other platforms. Companies may have to respond through augmented or virtual reality. “Success in this new decade will all be about how best to manage those connections.”
8. Advent of the Digital CIO
The scramble to add expertise and knowledge to a team could take on a new form, Verizon says. AI may come to the rescue of CIOs by acting as a digital CIO. While not every task can be answered by AI or dashboard, processing massive data could give an advantage to flesh-and-blood CIOs. “Artificial intelligence will enable the creation of a ‘digital CIO’ to work alongside the human CIO, using sensory data to highlight system performance, and flag any issues.”
9. Pragmatic Security Stance
Bad actors will continue to become more sophisticated in response to any advances in compute and connectivity. Verizon points out the targeted attacks centered on governments and enterprises show little sign of letting up any time soon. The possibility of interfering with elections might even attract more attention from hackers, yet the risk of inside jobs remains high. “The need to create and manage zero trust architectures is stronger than ever, because today’s friend may be tomorrow’s foe.”
10. Possibilities of 5G
Faster connectivity and more capacity to move massive data are some of the promises 5G is expected to fulfill. Verizon believes this will set the stage for organizations in automation, robotics, and the Internet of Things to be early adopters taking advantage of this blooming resource as it becomes available. As 5G spreads, it may open the way for ancillary service providers to get into the mix. “We’ll also see a rise in the 5G consultancy service, as first movers look to monetize their expertise around the globe.”Joao-Pierre S. Ruth has spent his career immersed in business and technology journalism first covering local industries in New Jersey, later as the New York editor for Xconomy delving into the city's tech startup community, and then as a freelancer for such outlets as ... View Full Bio