Remembering the Past & Preparing for the (Digital) Future
The Spanish philosopher George Santayana is credited for saying, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I like this saying in regard to history, and I think it holds true in many walks of life. However, in terms of its application to the realm of technology, sometimes remembering the past means concentrating on more of the same.
Sometimes what we thought would be the next big technology trend fizzles out before gaining traction (classic examples are the Laserdisk and BetaMax). Other trends don’t expire, but instead gain momentum and change our future course.
As we near the end of 2015, let’s take a look back at what I expected to happen this year, and how those events will impact what happens in 2016.
Last year, I wrote about three trends to watch in 2015: the networked economy, the “third platform” and millennial decision makers. At the time, all of these seemed like important subjects for solution providers to think about in 2015. I’d like to think these will continue to be on the radar in 2016 and perhaps beyond.
Combined, the networked economy and what I called the “third platform” (really, the Internet of Things) are driving what my organization (SAP) refers to as the digital transformation. This is where organizations, across the full spectrum of industries, are looking to transform their existing business models and processes. Why? To gain traction on their competition and become something more valuable than what they currently are.
Across all aspects of our business and personal lives, we expect, and demand, access to information anywhere at any time: to research and buy anything, to communicate with anyone, to complete any task in real time. It’s not a nice-to-have for the next generation; it’s simply table stakes. For businesses to stay ahead of the competition, they have no choice but ensure their employees, customers and prospects have an experience that’s as seamless as possible.
Driving Digital Continues in 2016
The digital economy is here and those of us who are shaping its foundation will be the ones to determine where it goes in the future. Your ability to help your customers transform to a digital-based model, complete with business processes as well as the technology to do so, should be a key focus in 2016 and beyond. Of course, you need to focus on these same things to continue growing your own business, too.
Don’t just take my word for it. You’ll soon start seeing a litany of 2016 forecasts from research firms and more. I’d be surprised if any of them don’t lead with digital transformation. For example, IDC predicts that by 2017 40% of services managed by IT will be oriented to provide an augmented experience and smart products.
Gartner expects CIO’s digital revenues to grow from 16% to 37% over the next five years as digitalization “moves from an innovative trend to a core competency.”
My SAP colleague Steve Lucas recently noted that companies need to “Go Digital or Die.” And while I like the alliterative headline, I like the message even more. If you’re not already having these digital transformation conversations with your customers, you’re at risk of becoming an ex-partner. You’re also putting your customers at risk of falling behind their own competition.
Whether you started learning about digital in 2015 or it becomes a focus in 2016, keep the conversation moving. Educate yourself and your customers about innovative uses for digital technologies.
After all, Santayana also said, “Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.”
How will you drive your own digital transformation in 2016? We’d love to hear your stories and ideas.
Ira Simon is vice president, Partner Marketing & Communications, at SAP. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship. Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://www.sap.com/partners/.