Throughout 2020, digital transformation will be relentless. It will continue to impact businesses of all kinds, in literally thousands of ways. And trust us, there are thousands of “Top X” lists being published right now classifying which digital tech trends will be front and center for the upcoming year — including our own list (scroll down to download it).
In line with ClearObject’s outlook for 2020, here are five ways we found the ongoing impact of digital transformation interesting… if not intriguing. Mainstream? Things like autonomous vehicles and the cloud. Less recognized? Transformation technologies such as robotic process automation, data analytics benefiting from big data growing to ginormous data, and Data as a Service, or DaaS for short.
Walmart will start delivering groceries using autonomous vehicles
Given how far autonomous vehicles have progressed with AI, and especially with the heightened battle between Walmart and Amazon in the groceries home-delivery space, this announcement from Walmart isn’t surprising. Early next year, the retail giant is set to partner with autonomous vehicle company Nuro, which will provide a fleet of fully electric low-speed delivery vehicles developed to carry grocery products minus a driver. Walmart’s delivery service will also deploy autonomous Toyota Priuses that will implement Nuro’s self-driving technology.
At its launch, the new delivery service will be limited to the Houston, Texas area, although Walmart plans to expand the program to other parts of the country in the future. Nuro already partners with the likes of Domino’s Pizza and Kroger for food and grocery deliveries using fleets of autonomous vehicles.
Robotic process automation (RPA) will be the new administrative assistant
RPA is generally associated with manufacturing and automating production processes. But for some time now, the manufacturing industry has also been using robotic process automation for non-complex business tasks such as inventory management, order fulfillment and customer support. On the verge of 2020, more companies are now implementing RPA technology to handle administrative tasks that have historically been time consuming and labor intensive — data entry, processing paperwork, even sifting through large volumes of email.
“There’s an incredible acceleration out there,” said one chief officer from a company that specializes in robotic process automation solutions. As a case in point for administrative use, she cited helping an immigration law firm implement RPA software to perform quality-control checks for visa applications, which does it “faster and more accurately than law clerks.” According to research firm Gartner Inc., the adoption of robotic process automation technology will continue in several industries, with global spending for the technology on pace to reach $2.4 billion by 2022.
Data analytics will hit overdrive with an explosion of data… if there are enough skilled people to manage it
The global datasphere (digital data created, captured, replicated and consumed) is already in the midst of growing from 40 zettabytes of data in 2019 to a projected 175 zettabytes in 2025. Or in tech speak, big data is growing to ginormous data. The impact of this data explosion is twofold, and simultaneous: At the same time more data will continue to drive digital transformation, it will accelerate the implementation of data analytics and services such as DaaS in industries and businesses of all kinds. There’s one potential roadblock, however. Businesses might not be able to find enough skilled talent in the form of data scientists and analytics gurus to manage their data initiatives.
A viable solution, at least according to one director of product strategy in the data analytics field, will be to bring new data specialists up through the lines of business rather than the IT domain. For businesses, this would mean identifying and championing existing employees who demonstrate the ability to think in innovative terms — who are able to “embrace technologies and advance their analytics skills to achieve superior business outcomes.” So by all means, keep IT personnel in place to build infrastructure, maintain technology and help guide digital transformation initiatives. But for data analytics manpower in 2020, look to current employees who can effectively combine their business skills with acquired data-oriented tech skills.
Cloud migrations will pick up steam, with more cautious planning
Speaking of data in ginormous volumes, and of DataOps in particular, cloud migration has been gathering increasing momentum and will continue to in 2020. Hybrid multi-cloud adoption will also increase as organizations move computing away from centralized data centers to distributed infrastructures and edge computing. But especially for data collection, storage and data analytics, many organizations are realizing the cloud gives them a greater and more flexible capacity for big data applications.
Yet while organizations will increasingly look to the cloud, they’ll take a more cautious and methodically planned migration approach than earlier adopters who experienced problems during their move. These new adopters don’t want the same cutover issues, temporary cost spikes, unplanned contingencies with SLAs and other hurdles that typically plagued early, poorly planned migration efforts.
Everything-as-a-Service, including DaaS
This one comes courtesy of Daniel Newman, principal analyst of Futurum Research, and his 2020 Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends list published on Forbes.com. Everything-as-a-Service, he says, “will gain even more momentum in 2020 than it did in 2019, in even the most hardware-driven industries and sectors of technology. … As we continue to see the evolution of onsite, off-side, cloud, hybrid, etc., ‘big IT’ will move on-premises as-a-Service right alongside big data, data analytics, blockchain and more.”
Newman points to the announcement from Hewlett Packard Enterprise that they’ll offer everything in their portfolio as a service by 2022. Other similar providers will follow HP’s lead, he says. Our call for the next big XaaS mainstay is DaaS (one of ClearObject’s projected 2020 trends), particularly with the onslaught of data now becoming available. DaaS lets virtually any business make their own data available to other businesses and entire industries for data analytics and decision-making. In 2020, look for XaaS coming to a business near you.
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?