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The 6 Latest Trends in Digital Transformation for SMEs and How to Prepare Yourself

The 6 Latest Trends in Digital Transformation for SMEs and How to Prepare Yourself

With 2020 around the corner, we are witnessing several trends in digital transformation across different sectors. From business progressions to next-gen technologies, innovations are taking the entire enterprise by storm. Well-functioning companies see these disruptions coming. So they utilize this chance to pivot their operations in a new direction characterized by innovation, sustainability, and growth.

So what are the latest trends in digital transformation already disrupting the enterprise? And what are the right steps to stay abreast of these and gain an edge over the competition? Let us explore.


Digital transformation trends for SMEs

Here are some of the latest trends to look out for:


1. DX Meets UX

To achieve a solid digital transformation, most entrepreneurs focus on user experience as the foundation. But as the years go by, companies no longer adopt innovative strategies for the sole purpose of cutting costs. Instead, they are beginning to realize the impact of focusing on customer experience. From offering specialized mobile applications to staff to data migration to the cloud, the trend is clear.

To adapt to the trend, you should be ready to adopt new technologies. This could help improve productivity and employee satisfaction while also keeping your current customers satisfied by offering exceptional experiences.


2. Record investment in digital transformation

The current business environment characterized by cut-throat competition has forced companies to make significant investments in digital transformation. An April 2019 study by IDC predicted that global spending on digital transformation would hit $1.18 trillion by the end of the year. This represents an increase of 17.9 percent from 2018.

These findings further indicate that two industries led the way in terms of budget allocation and expenditure: process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing, which spent $124.5 and $221.6 billion, respectively. The retail industry came in third.

Smart technology adoption aimed at improving efficiencies within the workplace has been a key contributor to the increase in budget allocation. Simply put, entrepreneurs are currently spending more dollars on this transformation than it has ever been witnessed.  


3. Savvy SMEs can't wait for 5G

Technically, the highly anticipated cellular network has begun rolling out in select cities in the world. Americans will have their nationwide rollout next year (2020), and entrepreneurs are eagerly waiting for the 5th generation network. By 2021, the anticipated number of connections is predicted to reach a figure in the range of 20 million to 100 million. For the same year, spending on mobile infrastructure is forecast to reach up to $2.3 billion.

Companies are warming up to a future that is entirely 5G-enabled. Those in the manufacturing sector, particularly, seek to harness the network to enhance the standards of production and optimize the layout of the factory floor. Within retail, the technology may be used in warehouses and stores to facilitate more personalized digital signage. Healthcare facilities, on the other hand, would benefit from 5G through telehealth improvements.

Every sector will feel the impact of new technology. Therefore, you should not be left behind.


4. Internet of Things

The IoT comes with a range of serious hurdles. These include challenges in data security, revenue generation, compatibility with the available corporate applications or programs, and the parallel need for machine learning and AI. Regardless, CMSWire notes significant improvements and real progress in IoT.

Between 2017 and September 2018, connected devices that consumers owned increased from 35 percent to 44 percent, respectively. What's more, investments in the system of interrelated computers have already begun delivering returns, and the trend is projected to accelerate toward 2020.

Particularly, IoT sensors allow your business to collect and store huge volumes of data every minute. This will offer you insight on equipment performance, failures, and health.


5. Blockchain

This relatively new kid on the block continues to rise beyond currency transaction management rapidly. The record-storage technology behind bitcoin ensures transparency across a range of business functions. All transactional processes can reap big if you rely on blockchain ledgers.

From human resources to financial transactions to procurement, this is not just advanced technology. Instead, it can be well described as an 'experience' that you can imbibe in your company's digital transformation strategy.


6. Big Data and analytics

Data and cloud technology share a great association. According to a report by Gartner, approximately 70 percent of companies are expected to leverage a multi-cloud strategy by the end of 2019. This represents a massive positive transition by 60 percent from 2017. Apart from enabling your business to be fast, flexible, and dynamic, data-driven approaches could help marketers increase productivity levels.

Creativity does not only involve enabling a faster turnaround of relevant content. It also helps deliver the content to the appropriate customers at the best time.

More mature, older foundational technologies may still be at the center of a majority of transformation initiatives. However, these trends will dominate discussions involving digital transformation, informing the trajectory of successful programs in 2020 and beyond.

So how do you brace for the changes and use them to gain a competitive edge?


How to plan for digital transformation

To succeed in 2020 and further into the future, digital leaders must prioritize facilitating business outcomes from multiple channels and optimizing the experience of their customer base. Technology plays a central role in the shift to digital. However, you still need to nurture a mix of talent and the right culture to turn yours into a functional digital entity.

Here are some of the best practices:

  • Clearly state who is in charge – About 43 percent of companies with a mature strategy view competition by internal departments as the biggest hurdle to digital transformation. The confusion can be avoided when every staff member understands their role. Thus you should clarify who runs each process for a successful transformation strategy that is also sustainable.
  • Address any shortages in digital skills – Customer behavior is in constant flux, so you should be able to identify trends, predict patterns, and respond to new situations. But the main challenge is recruiting the best talents to handle the 40 percent of all digital transformation initiatives and the entire effective IoT efforts. To beat the skills shortage, and connect with your customers on a valuable level, you should foster a continuous learning culture.
  • Be ready for big changes – A report by Forrester on 2018 predictions highlights the impact of digital evolution on the global business environment is a key concern for entities that seek to cement their position in the future. Already, ML technology and AI are a force to reckon in the business world. Therefore, you have to be open to new modes of operations that add value to your company.

All these trends are expected to clearly shape and influence digital transformation for your business in 2020 and beyond. As such, you should always be on the lookout for any new innovative solutions that enable efficient operations and increase your bottom line.

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