At the onset of a new decade, what exactly does digital transformation mean? First coined in the 1990s, digital transformation, or DX, has been a part of business discourse even as those fledgling companies began integrating the first digital tools into their everyday workflows. Now, however, the value of digital technologies is widely recognized, with over 90 percent of enterprises already using a cloud-based service for their operations.
Because so many companies already practice digital transformation to some capacity, it’s worth questioning: is digital transformation still a relevant practice, and how does it translate to a modernized workspace?
Let’s look at some of the most prevalent methods and specific solutions—including automation, 5G, and AI—that today’s businesses employ to continue developing a meaningful digital transformation strategy.
Strategy 1: Expand with automation
Regardless of industry, job category, or buyer markets, automation will continue to hold space in conversations around workplace efficiency, productivity, and quality assurance. In fact, according to reports from Forrester, intelligent, automated systems will contribute to 70 percent of all customer engagements by the year 2022.
If switching over to cloud-based tools, virtualized platforms, and other digital technologies is the first step to undergoing a digital transformation, think of automation as the next level in a digital structural hierarchy where these platforms are improved upon and become more efficient. While there are types of automation outside of digital workflows and transformation, solutions like Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, target those digital workflows specifically with the aid of software robots. Because these bots can be configured to a variety of tasks, RPA is both a solution in itself as well as a tool for optimizing all of your other digital solutions.
It’s important to consider why automation is playing this large of a role in so many businesses’ DX plans in 2020. The trend toward automation can be mostly attributed to the fact that automation has a substantial impact on nearly every component of an organization—including the types of people you hire, your strategies for upskilling workers, the layout of your technology stacks, your engagements with customers, and just how much you are able to accomplish on any given day. Supporting your automation efforts with a concrete digital transformation plan will help ensure that everyone is on the same page as you begin to adopt automated work processes.
Strategy 2: Accelerate with 5G
As 5G, or fifth generation, is deployed across major cities and network providers, it will essentially remove any limitations as to when and where we are able to accomplish work. With download speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G and 4G LTE, chances are there will be no file too big and no application too complex for 5G to handle on your team’s portable work devices.
Understanding 5G and how it works is critical to navigating exactly how the next generation of cellular technology will affect your approach to DX, both now and in the years to come. Unlike its predecessors, 5G operates on three spectrum bands: low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum. Lower spectrum levels offer the widest coverage area but slower data speeds, and what high-band lacks in coverage area it makes up for with extremely high peaks of latency and speed. Mid-band predictably rests somewhere in between.
What this means for your workforce is that 5G boasts both enough speed and enough accessibility to allow your entire workforce to access all the tools they need to be successful—wherever they might be located. Limited bandwidth and information transfer will become issues of the past as 5G enables collaboration and synchronization in real-time. For businesses with customers or offices around the world, 5G will prove to be a vital asset by allowing them to conduct work with remote colleagues and customers with minimal interruptions.
Strategy 3: Connect with conversational AI
Improvements in artificial intelligence technology’s ability to detect the nuance of human vocal and written communication have unlocked a new method for engaging with customers at scale: conversational AI. As a subsection of artificial intelligence technology as a whole, conversational AI branches off toward teaching machines to think like humans, but with a specific focus on language and linguistics.
With its current capabilities, conversational AI tools—primarily, chatbots—are delivering an improved customer experience by ensuring that customer messages are answered quickly and accurately. One study found that nearly 69 percent of consumers preferred chatbots over more traditional methods of customer support for these very reasons. Integrating conversational AI into your existing digital customer engagements will, therefore, prove to be the new normal as opposed to the exception to the rule.
Conversational AI is a core component of any DX plan in 2020 because it will set your business up to remain competitive with customers in the digital landscape. Consumers as a whole are becoming more technologically proficient, employing a wide variety of virtual channels to communicate with brands and check out their shopping carts. Customer support teams who brace their strategies with conversational AI ensure two very important factors in their customer relations: first, that each customer inquiry is properly answered, managed, and organized—at all times and regardless of the number of requests; and second, that customers are able to communicate seamlessly across whatever channel they choose, be it social media, a company website, email, or phone call.
Automation, 5G, and conversational AI are the current DX musts, but there are always more coming. So if you and your team are able to update your approach to digital transformation to match the current trajectories of digital workspaces, you’ll ensure that your department—and organization—are best positioned to stay successful down the line as DX continues to evolve.