In the digital world, it’s never too early to start thinking about next year. That’s right, with 2017 just round the corner (!) it is time to predict what’s going to be trending in the digital transformation arena.

1. The Internet of Things (IoT)

With an ever-increasing number of devices now on the market with the ability to connect online, customers’ expectations also continue to grow. Customers and clients expect to be able to connect with your business via numerous apps and devices, whenever they want to. Embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be essential in ensuring you not only keep up with your competition, but don’t let your customers down.

2. Artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer the domain of science fiction. No indeed, technology over recent years has improved so much that AI can now be well within everyone’s reach. So, do your research and make sure you fully consider and account for developments in AI when putting otgether your company’s digital strategy.

3. Start embracing and exploring augmented and virtual reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have long been on the wish-list of many a gamer, however, if the recent success of Pokémon Go can tell a marketer anything, it is that the entire world is ready for AR and VR, not just gamers.

Organisations may question the relevance of AR and VR to their businesses, especially if working within the professional service or financial industry but experts are sure that such gamification can only be a positive for the business world, especially when considering the benefits, which not only include higher customer satisfaction but also higher employee engagement and retention.

4. Get ready to use the secret weapon of application program interfaces

An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. As such, your company would be able to pull together a number of the most sought after (and best) technologies, meaning that your business would not be tied into using only one platform, but many. This, in turn can have a very positive effect on your customers’ experience. Embracing APIs could well mean your company is well prepared for true digital transformation.

5. If you’re going to innovate, do it fast!

With technology moving along so quickly, it is essential you stay on top of the competition. You need to adapt and innovate faster than you have ever done before. This means no procrastination. If you dither, your competitors will get there first.  Obviously, if your organisation has to comply with specific regulations, especially in the financial industry, moving quickly with supposed solutions can present a problem. However, the key thing is to be on top of your game and be the first to highlight a possible solution, even if it needs to be signed off by a legal authority.

6. Focus on making sure your users have the best experience

Users should always be at the forefront of your mind when developing any service, for it is them who will deem your innovation a success…or not. With this in mind, make sure you are not innovating for the sake of it but that you are providing users with a solution they either require, or will love. Providing your customers with a consistent, high level experience will maintain their loyalty and ensure your growth, as they recommend and share their experiences with other (especially online).

7. Don’t forget your big data and analytics

Over the past few years, big data and analytics have both shown their worth, and both will continue to do so in 2017. The key thing here is to not forget to a) collect the data and b) do something with it. You can learn from data, innovate using it, and continue to make your customers’ experience better from the insights you glean from it.

8. Flexible working

Of course, as well as thinking about your customers, you also need to think about your employees. The workforce now, is very different to how it was ten or so years ago but employees are still the cornerstone of any business, so it is vital, in this day and age of digital and remote working, that your company is flexible.

Employees now expect flexible or remote working to be offered, so keep in mind you may need to look at implementing such working conditions, alongside any software and secure solutions to make certain employees can work off-site safely and securely. A workforce that is allowed some flexibility will be a much more engaged workforce, which will only bring benefit to your organisation.

9. Adaptability is key!

If the past few years can tell us anything, it is that things change…very fast! Technology is surging forward faster than any of us could have predicted and as such, companies need to be able to adapt. Your organisation needs to be ready to adopt new technologies and ways or working and ensure any opportunities presented, are exploited.

10. Breaking down the silos in your business

The two words ‘digital’ and ‘innovation’ were certainly not as popular ten years ago as they are now.  Indeed you’d have been hard-pressed to find a board-level role with either of those words in the title; whereas now, you’d be hard-pressed not to find such a role at board level.

Digital transformation is an important aspect of any business, now more than ever. If your company is not yet taking it seriously, now is the time to wake up, sit up and take notice. Get the right kind of people on your board, break down any silos in your organisations and allow digital innovations to flow through. It will, without a doubt, bring huge benefit to your company.

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