The Recipe for Success in the Age of Digitization


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As digitization becomes a major priority across the globe, businesses face a daunting choice: either adopt an advanced, hyper-agile operational structure to remain competitive – or fail.

Over the course of the past two decades, sweeping disruption has made such a significant impact on the consumer lifestyle that it’s forcing companies to take bolder action and adapt faster. In short, enterprises must remain more agile than ever before in order to stay competitive. In fact, a September 2019 survey by Teradata and Vanson Bourne found that 99% of business respondents are in the process of either moving to a digital business or leveraging/piloting digital technologies to change business models — and some are much further along than others. In fact, only 10% said they had fully realized widespread digital transformation.

This means that incremental change is no longer enough in today’s environment. If an enterprise hesitates to adopt a digital-first mentality or risks not investing in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or machine learning to scale or help the bottom line, its business may get quickly surmounted by more agile, technology-forward market-disruptive competitors, like start-ups.

Whether it’s a legacy company trying to modernize its offerings or a small business looking to keep afloat, understanding the biggest market forces impacting businesses today is an essential first step in any forward-thinking strategy. Here are the biggest factors driving change in the marketplace and the key ingredients to achieve near and long-term success:

Hyper-Disruption and Pervasive Digitization
Widespread market disruption is creating an urgent need for businesses to rethink approaches and processes to streamline and scale operations through automation, so that they can increase efficiency and reduce use of limited resources.

Whether it stems from endlessly rising consumer expectations or new competitors with dynamic business models, business decision-makers must take stock of their operations and reevaluate what the enterprise needs in order to succeed. For example, 61 percent of respondents to the Teradata/Vanson Bourne 2019 survey admitted to being underprepared to strategically address market-disruptive competitors, citing the need for greater simplification and improved operations.

These findings underscore the critical need for decision-makers to recognize the crucial role technology now plays in supporting their businesses’ foundational infrastructure and in enabling the company to remain competitive.

Additionally, constantly identifying and evaluating the use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence is crucial to succeeding in our modern, ever-evolving tech landscape. If enterprises aren’t thinking through how to best utilize emerging technologies now and put new processes into place, then it will be even more difficult to change when the next wave of new technologies emerge. And with pervasive digitization—meaning when every aspect of our organizations and lives begin to digitize—one thing we can depend on is that expectations will change often and quickly. For example, as companies have more data at hand, they’ll need to find ways to generate insights from that data in real-time, as well as scale changes resulting from those insights quickly across the company.

The first key “ingredient” to thriving amidst pervasive digitization is accepting that the transformation is widespread and inevitable. The second is to act upon the necessary next steps to ensure your company is adequately prepared across all divisions, as being pervasive means all divisions of the company will be impacted, from IT to accounting to customer service.

Because everything will be connected and the amount of data will increase, companies will need to adopt a more scalable and agile infrastructure in order to achieve a return on their technology investments. One of the most pervasive and far-reaching technologies impacting the business right now is artificial intelligence — and while its potential is huge, properly applying and benefiting from it has also become one of companies’ biggest struggles.

Autonomous Tech and AI
There is no doubt that enterprises must be ready for increasing amounts of customer and enterprise data that will become bigger every year as technology continues to become more pervasive. In turn, it’s imperative for companies to operationalize their data, and think about how to best incorporate smart technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning into business operations in a way that will solve problems instead of creating more of them.

While some organizations may already be investing in AI and finding ways to capitalize on its unique abilities, others are still confused about how to begin. While AI should be a part of any long-term company strategy, in the near-term, companies must start asking the right questions about AI and assessing the ways it can help them advance their data analytics strategies.

With data expected to increase rapidly in volume over the next five years, AI is essential to addressing some of the most difficult challenges businesses face today around creating actionable insights from data—and it will continue to play an increasing role in the future of data analytics.

The Cloud
The cloud is crucial in helping businesses harness the power of AI. This is because the cloud can house the vast amounts of data that AI works to simplify into cohesive, actionable insights. The cloud also provides the elasticity and flexibility needed for AI to work at scale, leveraging data from across company offices worldwide.

Many enterprises are looking to combine their use of AI with the cloud. In fact, 64 percent of respondents to the Teradata/Vanson Bourne 2019 survey are considering AI as a major component of their overall cloud analytics strategy in the next year.

Whichever cloud infrastructure works best for a given business (whether that’s hybrid, multi-cloud or on-premise), AI technology can fit right into it. The marriage of AI and the cloud is a key ingredient in helping enterprises with optimization, scalability, data resilience and overall better performance.

Consumerization of Technology
Around the world, data-driven technologies, products and services have empowered the consumer with unprecedented choice, control and access to a global market. From mobile banking and online stock trading to food delivery apps and ridesharing, companies are expected to make offerings as simple, convenient and intuitive as possible in order to capture and retain consumer attention. The consumer experience has fundamentally transformed our collective lifestyle, including in regards to the workplace. Notably, Millennial and Gen Z employees are establishing a digital-first mentality at work, transforming business operations to be more fluid and agile and advocating for end-to-end user experiences through data analytics.

Employees now expect their teams to practice the “always on” mindset and provide self-service enterprise applications that enable them to quickly gain deeper insights from data. They also rely on plug-and-play apps that provide virtually zero barriers to adoption, as well as real-time access to technology, putting increased pressure on enterprises to enable access to software and technology 24/7 while monitoring for and instantly troubleshooting potential downtime and outages.

But this doesn’t mean that enterprise technology is now complicated. In fact, there are automated technologies that simplify business operations while providing the support that enterprises need during an evolving technological and consumerized landscape, keeping employees happy and boosting productivity at the same time.

By investing in simplified, easier-to-use technology and other key ingredients, businesses are able to jumpstart the process of finding the right combination of technological flavors to help spur growth. And by doing this, businesses can flourish instead of floundering in the age of digitization.

Chad Meley
Chad Meley is vice president of marketing at Teradata. Chad understands trends in the analytics and big data space and leads a team of technology specialists who interpret the needs and expectations of customers while also working with engineers, consulting teams, and technology partners. He has been recognized with the Best Practice Award for Driving Business Results in Data Warehousing from the Data Warehouse Institute, the Marketing Excellence Award from the Direct Marketing Association, and the Marketing Gold Award from MarketingSherpa.


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