Digital business: Transformation 2024

Digital business: Transformation 2024

Digital transformation (DX) has shed the perception of its hype. Now, it is foundational. Technology leaders and decision-makers recognise that the multiple layers making up digital are the essential building blocks of success. As PwC found in its 27th Annual Global CEO Survey, 45% of CEOs believe their company must reinvent and reimagine to remain viable over the next ten years. Technology is as much the enabler of this reinvention as it is the cause, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) which 60% of CEOs anticipate to transform efficiencies and profits. DX, says Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, is less about diving headfirst into the latest solutions and more about balancing investments and architecture, both in the past and in the future, to ensure that transformation is relevant, sustainable, and capable of delivering value.

“The value of digital transformation will always be defined by how well the technology meets the digital imperatives of the business,” he adds. “What key performance indicators does it meet? How do digital KPIs align with the business and the delivery of the technology? Deloitte has 46 digital transformation value KPIs of which only 26 are used by less than 55% of companies. This underscores the importance of looking at these trends through two lenses – their potential and their value.”

One of the most talked about and significant trends is, of course, AI. What it will do, the applications it will enhance, the value it will deliver. According to Gartner, AI falls into almost all of the top ten strategic technology trends, less a bucket of its own and more a ubiquitous tool capable of revolutionising everything from data to augmented workforces and security. The firm also nods at the need to ‘ensure sustained impact from your technology investments’. In short – prioritise return on investment (ROI) with focused implementations that are both future-relevant and sustainable.

Gartner believes that generative AI (GenAI) will sit in several areas that include democratised GenAI, AI-augmented development, workforce augmentation, and sustainability. This is echoed by Deloitte which points out that while 74% of companies believe DX is the most important investment for the business, today and in the future, it is AI that takes the lead concerning perceived efficiency benefits (80%).

“AI is consistently delivering on its promise to augment processes, systems and approaches, but companies do need to ensure that they’re not leaning into the hype,” cautions Mbonambi. “They need to navigate this potential while consistently assessing how it will deliver value throughout the business. Will it meet ROI expectations? Will the business see tangible transformation across process and system efficiency? The right planning with the right approaches will provide the organisation with the visibility it needs to answer these questions before leaping down the throat of the latest AI trend.”

Of course, AI is not the only shift in DX that’s worth paying attention to – the platform has moved from a trend on the horizon to a significant contender. These platforms come in multiple flavours, all designed to meet very specific business requirements. Cloud platforms are evolving to fit industry-specific needs, helping verticals overcome legacy challenges while optimising performance. Platform engineering using AI, cloud, DevOps and specialised services is set to hand companies a strategic application and software delivery powerhouse. And, of course, the e-commerce platform economy is reshaping retail as SaaS tools make it increasingly simple for companies to integrate, adapt, pivot and expand with minimal cost investment and significantly reduced risk.

“DX is also proving invaluable in the key areas of hyper-personalisation, managing workforce collaboration and connectivity, gaining improved control over costs, and wrapping data in the right packages to help the right people,” concludes Mbonambi. “A powerful value-add that has the potential to give organisations the agility they need to adapt to changing markets, geopolitical uncertainty and economic volatility. It also helps them to do exactly what CEOs want – evolve at speed to ensure organisational sustainability.”

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