Business ServicesJanuary 10, 2019

Top Digital Manufacturing Tech Trends of 2019

With 2018 now a wrap, the year ahead is ripe with opportunity…
Avatar Beth Stackpole

With 2018 now a wrap, the year ahead is ripe with opportunity for digital business as IT leaders look to leverage cloud, analytics, and new artificial intelligence capabilities to transform existing processes and pave the way for new data-driven products and services.

Between 2018 and 2021, businesses across industries are expected to dole out nearly $5.9 trillion on digital transformation efforts, according to the latest IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation  2019 Predictions. Their investment will fund a wide variety of new initiatives and spark the genesis for new digitally-enabled products and services: The IDG report anticipates at least 55% of organizations will be “digitally determined” by 2020, transforming markets and re-imagining their current businesses with new revenue models and smarter, digitally-inspired offerings.

Moreover, organizations will begin to get a handle on the influx of data being generated by this emerging digital landscape. The IDC research estimates that by 2020, 80% of enterprises will create new data management and monetization capabilities intended to enhance enterprise functions while generating new revenue streams.

As technology leaders contemplate their digital-dominant future, here are trends to consider as they navigate a path to digital business success:

The Digitalization of Everything  

While technology groups are certainly no stranger to big enterprise computing projects, the scope has dramatically changed. No longer is the end game a successful ERP or CRM roll out to streamline financials and back-end operations, or to tighten up and optimize sales. Today, the digitalization of every business process is on the table, from transformation of the factory floor using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve more efficient operations and proactive and predictive maintenance, to creating a digital thread that connects the various constituencies designing and producing products. Not only do these initiatives newly empower employees with better insights and collaboration capabilities, many are opening doors to new revenue models such as product-as-a-service. In truth, however, getting to the promised land of digital business is not an easy task. A 2018 on digital mastery found that 39% of organizations believe they have the required capabilities for digital transformation, exactly where things stood for the firm’s 2012 research.

Continued Cloud Migration

Digital transformation and cloud computing are like the peanut butter and jelly of modern business—the two are inextricably intertwined. Cloud computing platforms and applications deliver the flexibility, scalability, and speed to market that modern business demands, and IT leaders increasingly need to shift emphasis to the cloud as a catalyst for growth, or risk being left behind. Gartner forecasts cloud computing to be a $300 billion business by 2021. At the same time, however, cloud adoption is not without risk. Cybersecurity and compliance concerns (particularly those related to General Data Protection Regulation) will become a top concern for IT leaders as cloud infrastructure dominates.

Analytics Holds the Key 

The digitalization of business and the growing universe of IoT-connected products and services is fueling a data deluge that is both a bonanza and burden for companies. Industry projections are for upwards of 20 billion IoT devices to be deployed by 2020, and it is expected there will be 44 zettabytes of data created in the same timeframe. That data promises a bounty of riches to drive better business decisions and create new revenue opportunities. However, organizations will need to invest in the resources and map out an analytics strategy to turn the deluge into data-driven insights that deliver true business value.

AI and Machine Learning are the New Reality 

Digital assistants, chatbots, autonomous vehicles, even automated grocery store check outs—these innovations are no longer the stuff of science fiction, but are the new reality of modern business. Increases in computing power and the explosion of big data has pushed organizations to make real strides with AI and machine learning and there is no sign that momentum will slow. IDC expects 35% of workers to leverage bots or other forms of AI by 2023. Tech leaders will continue to ideate new ways to take advantage of these cutting-edge technologies, from algorithms that predict churn or perfect the customer experience to automating repetitive tasks so workers are freed up to focus on value-added activity.

2019 promises to be another year of technology-driven innovation and business change. Are you ready to take the ride?

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