Digital Transformation Predictions for 2019

Kelly Herrell | Dec 27, 2018

There’s a popular saying in the post-digital world that “data is the new oil.” Digitization is creating a massive flow of of new “oil.” However, to extend the analogy, data – like oil – requires refinement in order for it to become consumable. It requires transformation and interpretation in order to become informative and actionable. In practical terms, digital transformation is about making an organization “data capable.”

While the process can feel daunting, the business value is undeniably significant: becoming data capable leads to better customer engagement, faster and more informed decision-making, fraud risk mitigation and improved cybersecurity, to name just a few of the benefits. Digital transformation initiatives that properly refine data to deliver actionable information and greater efficiency also drive business opportunity and better capability for profitable growth.

In 2018, significant groundwork was laid for new technologies that have the potential to reshape entire industries and provide tangible business advantages to data-capable organizations. The clear assumption of cloud has now become multi-cloud, 4G will move to 5G within the next two years, machine learning is in greater production, IoT has more real use cases… the list continues. There will be clear winners and losers, and the companies that win have something important in common: they’re aggressively delivering products and services within today’s business and consumer expectations of immediacy and convenience.

To get a feel for what this will mean in 2019, I asked a number of experts this question:

“What industries will see meaningful results in the areas of digital transformation?”

Here are some of their predictions, as well as mine:

Issac Sacolick, President of StarCIO and author of Driving Digital

  • My vote is that industries such as construction, manufacturing, and field service management that have been historically slow to adopt new technologies have significant upside potential in 2019. These industries can realize significant productivity, quality, safety, and sustainability improvements by digitizing workflows, using IoT to predict system failures, enabling field workers with AI-enabled mobile applications, and deploying self-service analytics to drive better decision making.

Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA

  • Most (if not all) industries will benefit from digital transformation in 2019. The key to success is to understand the business context in which digital transformation is driving. Solving business problems and transforming business is the key to providing guidance to successful digital transformation outcomes.

Evan Kirstel, Chief Digital Evangelist and Co-Founder at EnviraHealth

  • Innovation is everywhere and the healthcare industry is catching up as a traditional laggard. I expect to see increasing deployment of cutting-edge technologies, such as voice, artificial intelligence and machine learning and, of course, high-profile clinical apps and precision medicine. Patient experience and the clinical experience should see a major boost from adoption of these technologies. Lingering cybersecurity issues remain a roadblock as are the lack of resources, budgetary, talent and, less tangible, just plain time.

Each of the above predictions are based on important insights. Here is my view: A subset of industries will advance their data transformation faster than others, simply because digitization can have a more powerful impact.

  • Those with capital-intensive barriers to entry (heavy manufacturing, oil and gas) are harder for digitization to disrupt, so they will move more slowly. Their new projects will likely focus on enabling higher operational efficiencies.
  • The most dramatic push for data enablement will continue to come from businesses that are service oriented or consumer facing, since these are the easiest to disrupt.

My prediction is that the industries most under pressure to transform in 2019 will be Financial Services, eCommerce, and Communications Service Providers. Fraud is on the rise; there is a persistent, escalating hum of cyber conflict with no defined rules of engagement; and consumers are increasingly impatient. Today, the world demands the compression of time, and punishes slowness. Time has become the new currency of business. Companies within these industries will need to transform quickly, or face a challenge to their relevance in this rapidly changing environment.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: we are in store for an exciting and interesting future. We’d love to know what you think!

From all of us at Hazelcast, we would like to wish you a prosperous 2019.

About the Author

Kelly Herrell

Chief Executive Officer

Kelly has led the growth of four innovative companies from early stage to market-leading entities, covering a broad span of compute and networking. At Hazelcast, Kelly brings his unique experience of driving high-value innovation, including open-source models, into the infrastructure of the world's largest customers. Prior to joining Hazelcast in July 2018, he was SVP & GM of the Software Business Unit at Brocade Communications, the result of Brocade's acquisition of his former company, Vyatta, which pioneered software-defined networking and delivered the most widely used software networking operating system in the world. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree from Washington State University where he is an advisor to the Honors program and an MBA from Cornell University where he is a guest lecturer.