Change is hard, and many of us procrastinate, make excuses or lag behind. Today, we simply can’t. Digital technologies are no longer “nice-to-have” tools of the business – today they are the business. Digital laggards are already finding their markets disrupted and their abilities to compete overturned. As they desperately try to outrun the Darwinian effect of their slow responses, they are faced with not one but three periods – or ages – of digital transformation to navigate – disruptive transformation, hyper-digital transformation and ubiquitous transformation. Understanding these three ages, and when they will emerge, is critical for business success.
Some may argue digital transformation started 70 years ago with ENIAC, the first commercially available computer, while others argue it started with the Internet. Whenever the starting point actually was, we can all agree that the proliferation of digital over the last five years has brought unprecedented personal and business disruption.
The age of disruptive transformation introduced eight specific technologies that disrupted traditional business operations and IT infrastructures, and are having a “large to very large” business impact on at least one-quarter of the digital leaders in our survey:
These eight technologies are data-centric – they are all about producing, managing, analyzing, securing and storing data in new and innovative ways, and then acting on it. With the exception of biotechnology, these digital technologies are critical components of OILS, and profoundly impact business strategies, business processes and human interactions.
These digital technologies – which should already be implemented and scaling to have an impact on your organization – now serve as the foundation for the next two periods of digital transformation. If these top eight digital technologies are not already in place within your IT infrastructure, the current age of hyper-digital transformation will threaten your company’s very existence.
During the second period of digital-related change – the age of hyper-digital transformation – the pace of change and the business impact of digital technologies greatly accelerate. The eight top technologies from the previous era will rapidly increase their business impact by an average of 74% among digital leaders by 2020. This increase is a sign of the enormity of the forces at work, the size of investments needed, and the cadence at which organizations need to adapt to stay relevant and competitive.
In the age of hyper-digital transformation, nine additional, incremental digital technologies join the eight from the previous age. These nine start with a relatively low level of importance today but increase by an average of 145% among digital leaders by the year 2020.