The following post is co-authored by Valerie Groneman of our Digital Business Services team.
The last few years have proven no aspect of business is immune to digital’s reach. When we think about what 2015 could bring, we think about a maturing digital landscape. Many businesses are not coming to the digital table for the first time. They are starting to build on the digital foundation laid early on in the age of digital disruption. With digital the way of life, not a potential way of life, companies who have yet to enter the digital arena by 2015 will find themselves too late.
We’ve used the classic 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When and Why—to think about what digital means for business in 2015. With the year well underway, we wanted to capture the digital landscape as we see if shaping up for the rest of 2015.
The Who: The Workforce
As the need for “digital” to apply across business units continues to crystalize in 2015, we anticipate two important changes to the workforce: the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role will increase in rank and the mobile workforce will become mainstream. Historically, the CIO or CMO emerged as the champion of digital innovation, but the need for digital business process warrants someone who can make decisions that benefit the organization as a whole. The CDO is a not a replacement to the CIO or CMO, they are a compliment that can increase the pressure in the C-Suite to respond to the digitalization of everything. These leadership changes will also be important as the mobile workforce gains strength in 2015. The BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – trend will become the norm and connected workers will expect options that enable them to get the job done from any device, anywhere. Leadership will need to address their company’s BYOD policies, strategy and SaaS options to attract a talented digital workforce, stay competitive, and ensure the rise of the mobile workforce does not negatively impact the company’s bottom line.
The Where: It Doesn’t Matter
Forrester named mobile as one of the most disruptive technologies of 2014 and we are seeing it continue as a top disrupter in 2015. We already mentioned the impact mobile is having on the workforce and the need for businesses to define their strategy for managing mobile’s impact. When it comes to the consumer in 2015, mobile will also play a role. The creation of mobile experiences for consumers has standardized, but in 2015 businesses will need to shift toward omni-channel environments. Rather than creating separate environments and experiences, businesses will need to develop fluid experiences that allow the consumer to interact with all aspects of the digital eco-system anytime, anywhere.
The What: Connected Devices
“It’s alive!” Frankenstein’s famous words could not be more apt for 2015. Expect even more things to be connected, along with a move towards rooting technology into everyday processes. This means using connected devices not just to improve how we get our jobs done, but also connecting our environment to create smart communities. The IoT won’t just be about wearables in 2015, it is expanding to include the world around us. This movement toward connected communities will keep Big Data a top buzzword for 2015 as these devices, processes and environments produce a wealth of information about our actions online and offline.
Why: The Customer
The age of the consumer is not going away anytime soon. In fact, this trend is strengthening with the evolution of advanced customer analytics. Importantly, we see the ability to follow online to offline (or vice versa) actions improving. A combination of technology solutions will enable us to better track and understand consumer behavior, making it easier to give consumers what they need when they need it. Along with the ability to collect powerful amounts of data, we expect the demand for data security to also increase.
Digital innovation is exciting, but it comes with practical implications that businesses are working to address. We anticipate cost cutting, especially in traditional IT, to fund digital innovation. How companies choose to find dollars to fund innovation may vary, but across industries the need to find funds for digital innovation is a priority. Companies will be looking for solutions to reduce spending, especially in IT, through application modernization, business process automation, agile development or other processes to ensure cost savings and digital readiness.
About the co-author
Valerie Groneman is a consultant with Dell’s Digital Business Consulting group—part of Digital Business Services. In this role she helps businesses assess their digital and social media strategies to ensure they are prepared to adopt a business-first approach. She has a background in digital and social media strategy and is passionate about helping businesses engage consumers in the social space. Follow her on Twitter @VGroneman.