Every year the job for CIOs and Digital Transformation Officers gets tougher. They can thank the evolution of technology.
As innovation goes, the path to new disruptive technologies has always been unending. But the pace of evolution keeps getting faster, and technologies like IoT, AI and machine learning, data analytics, robotic process automation and others keep spurring more possibilities. So does the ongoing explosion of data. And at this stage, the digital transformation is in full swing.
So in the interest of their enterprise, how employees work, and what customers experience, what should CIOs and Digital Transformation Officers wish for in 2020? According to analysts and our own findings for data-driven trends in the coming year, these decision-makers might well be saying:
“I resolve to…”
Analysts at Forrester say talent, culture, and organizational issues will take center stage in 2020. We agree, from two perspectives. On the productivity side, AI and machine learning will continue to streamline business processes and augment human work to improve efficiency, especially for data-heavy administrative tasks. A higher priority for CIOs however will be workforce skills, particularly for data analytics. Already, there are far more jobs in analytics, AI and machine learning circles than there are knowledge experts to fill them.
Therefore, as one director of product strategy in the data analytics field suggests, CIOs and Digital Transformation Officers alike would be wise to transform existing employees into data specialists. The best internal candidates? Employees in the business ranks, opposed to those in IT, who can leverage their business training to learn about new technologies and “advance their analytics skills.”
Use data to its fullest extent
The global datasphere is now in the midst of growing to a projected 175 zettabytes in 2025, an outlook that comes from IDC. (We call it going from big data to ginormous data.) And with so much data available to enhance data analytics and make technologies such as AI and machine learning even more intelligent, why not put it to use? But maximizing data won’t be just about technology. For CIOs and Digital Transformation Officers, the key to using data to its fullest extent, Forrester believes, will be to require an invested effort from their entire organization. Which means an equally invested effort from executives to transform talent across the board, both as users and as data specialists. See the first resolution.
Reach beyond predictive analytics
This means adopting the use of prescriptive analytics, which go beyond forecasting possible options, as predictive analytics do, to suggest a range of actions and the potential outcomes of those actions. Or call it transforming business intelligence by looking into the future. Whereas predictive analytics give CIOs, Digital Transformation Officers and other business leaders insight to the here and now, prescriptive analytics work in unison with the predictive model to provide foresight as well. Oil and gas industries, for instance, use prescriptive analytics to assess supply, demand, pricing, and industry and market changes. Even AI and machine learning are getting into the mix, with resources like Google Cloud Machine Learning and IBM Watson now making it easy to integrate machine learning for prescriptive analytics. A resolution for 2020, or a new holy grail?
Finally trust in automation
The perception of automation in a business sense, and of robotic process automation (RPA) in a deeper sense, has largely been misguided. “RPA is made for manufacturing, and automating business processes will eliminate jobs.” Not true. Yes, the manufacturing industry has long used robotic process automation for production lines. Think automakers, appliance makers, etc., etc. But manufacturers are also leading users of automation for non-complex business tasks such as inventory management, order fulfillment and customer support. Following suit, more companies are also now implementing RPA technology to handle time-consuming, labor-intensive administrative tasks — data entry, processing paperwork, even sifting through large volumes of email.
After years of weighing the potential impacts of automation, Forrester’s analysts say CIOs will finally adopt it full force in 2020 to take over “mundane infrastructure processes” and repetitive support functions. Gartner thinks the adoption of automation and RPA technology will continue in several industries, with global spending for RPA on pace to reach $2.4 billion by 2022.
Take every advantage of IoT, AI and machine learning
These and other digital solutions are no longer “future” technologies. At this point of the digital transformation, they’re “necessary.” For one reason, today’s workforce still isn’t sufficiently equipped with the technology needed to analyze large amounts of data. For another, the human mind may never be able to process and make sense of all the data in what are becoming ginormous volumes.
Our own outlook is that, in 2020, CIOs and Digital Transformation Officers will look for more ways to use AI and machine learning to augment human work, especially for data analytics. As a consequence of ginormous data, these leaders will also grasp IoT as the backbone of the current data-driven economy. And, to make sense of data in smarter ways, they’ll follow the evolution of IoT products and services more closely as the technology focuses less on core components and more on intelligent ones, such as AI and machine learning.
To CIOs and Digital Transformation Officers everywhere, Happy 2020. We hope all your resolutions take effect.
ClearObject’s technology outlook for 2020
It’s all in our new whitepaper, “The Year of IoT and Machine Learning: 9 Data Driven Directions for 2020.” The paper is informative, it’s a quick read… and it’s free.
ClearObject is a digital transformation leader in Internet of Things (IoT) Engineering and Analytics. As IBM Watson IoT and Google Cloud Business Partners, we deliver global embedded software development environments for our customers, and design and deliver unique data analytics digital products that help them recognize the value of their data. Our objective is clear: help the world’s best companies build intelligence into their products and gain intelligence from them. The future is clear. Do you see it?