The Digital Universe of Opportunities: The increasing value of Data and Emerging technologies

Data Growth and Business Opportunities with today’s Digital Transformation

We are living in an ever expanding physical and digital universe. With the growth in digital transformation and data, there are tremendous opportunities. The digital universe encompasses an ever-increasing population, from early days of computers to now IoT devices found in every household item and even devices worn on the body. The impact is across people of all ages and businesses of all sizes.

Digital transformation involves the integration of intelligent data. There are a plethora of new technologies. Rapid cloud adoption, connected devices, and big data are causing a data explosion. The application of emerging technologies is unleashing new opportunities. Organizations must adopt digital technologies to survive, succeed and be competitive.

The Rise in Availability of Quality Data

Individuals and businesses generate vast amounts of data.  Today people are using smartphones like never before. People generate data in vast volumes just by going about their days. It varies from clicking pictures for social media to data created for applications to health devices worn.

Businesses are using more electronic data with integrated applications. Every business has its website and a web presence. Some have full ERP systems collecting data at every stage of their process. Usage of paper has reduced. We also have business applications creating new digital data daily. This is all creating huge amounts of digital data. We get data about users, their behaviour, buying patterns, trends, and much more.

Today, more than 5 billion people interact with data daily. By 2025, 6 billion people will interact with data as per IDC, which is 75% of the population. The forecast for 2025 is the creation of data over 175 ZettaBytes. (1 ZettaBytes=1Trillion GB.)

How is Data Empowering Organizations?

Digitization of business processes is leading to innovation. Digital disruption is transforming traditional business models. It is creating new sources of data. Organizations are leveraging data to improve customer experiences. This involves improving process efficiencies and productivity through technology. Data-driven insights are powering processes, opening new markets, and improving productivity. Data is creating newer sources of competitive advantage. Organizations must capitalize on this opportunity for competitive gains.

Digital content gets created in three primary locations, as per IDC.

· The Core: Traditional and cloud data centres. This is where applications and databases house data. Example – An educational institute or a health care facility storing their data on the cloud.

· The Edge: The enterprise-hardened infrastructure like cell towers and branch offices.

· The Endpoints: PCs, smartphones, and IoT devices.

Digital Disruption is Driving Changes

Data fuelled by digitization is driving change. Digital disruption is impacting the value proposition of existing business models. Digital innovation involves many technologies. The new technologies impact how customer expectations and behaviours evolve. Organizations have to adapt their strategy to meet the new customer expectations. That’s the only way they can stay competitive.

Some examples of digital disruption

  • Digital camera business disrupted the film photography and photo processing industry.
  • Uber has disrupted traditional taxi services.
  • Freemium products are the likes of Spotify, LinkedIn or Dropbox. They allow users to sample a basic product with options to upgrade to a paid subscription.
  • Mobile apps and electronic reading have redefined the print and publication industry.

Evolution of the Third Platform

Today, the “third platform” of digital technologies is about convergence. It includes the convergence of the following technologies.

  • Mobile
  • Cloud
  • Internet of things (IoT)
  • Blockchain
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Big data
  • Robotics.

The Flexera 2020 tech spend report shows a significant increase in IT spend. It reflects organizations adopting digital technologies.

Emerging Technologies and Opportunities in today’s Digital Universe

Organizations have to adapt and transform themselves with the new digital opportunities. Some of the major areas where new opportunities arise are in emerging technologies.

“As-a-Service” revolution


Technology is evolving in an ‘as-a-service’ model. We have Software as a service, platform as a service, and so on. The IT department of the future will include lesser staff, but high-calibre technologists.
Managed IT services will expand on the ‘As-a-service’ model. It will be more cost-effective. Cloud offerings from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon provide cheaper solutions. Many other innovative start-ups are delivering cutting-edge solutions. Customers need little upfront investment to use them. We can see this growth in the Software-as-a-service(SAAS) applications available today.

Digital expansion


Digital transformation has led to accelerated adoption of cloud-based applications. Users need on-demand information accessible from anywhere. There is an increased proliferation of smartphones, mobile apps, and portable devices. Convergence connects devices to cloud applications and has spurred digital growth.

There is an increase in collaboration software that users need on an on-demand basis. Business users ranging from sales to operations teams need critical data access. Availability of data on their devices empowers efficiency. Web-based ERP, CRM, and many apps are making this demand workable today.

Restaurants have moved to digital menus (McDonald’s). Touchless payments are on the rise due to the pandemic. Chipotle has launched a ‘digital-only’ restaurant. Electronic payments are providing better access to customer information.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)


AI is becoming a valuable tool in helping to interpret and understand data. Due to digitization, more data is available. Machine learning algorithms can work on these data to provide sophisticated AI-driven solutions. Self-learning algorithms will provide insights and be able to predict better. This will allow businesses to make better decisions. Data and analytics will feed decision-making in real-time. Intelligent algorithms improve quality and input.

AI will help businesses predict better and take more accurate decisions.

Robotics, Drones, and Vehicle Automation


Robots are faster, cheaper, and have higher accuracy. Industrial robots replace job functions that were too dangerous for humans. Advances in artificial intelligence include computer vision and natural language processing. These help robots “see” and “learn”. Reliable data helps robots become more intelligent and capable. Robots will complement some jobs along with humans and replace some.

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/MR)


Augmented reality technology uses glasses or headsets to project computer-generated vision. This gets fed into the users’ field of vision. Technology is powering sectors such as education and healthcare. Remote surgeries and healthcare applications enabled with this technology are on the rise. Many organizations are using augmented reality in customer service, teaching, and training.


Big Data:


Big data has the ability to pull data from many sources. Data can be in structured and unstructured formats. Tools manipulate this data to show analytical dashboards and provide in-depth insights. Big data provides opportunities for organizations to improve their key performance indicators (KPIs). Organizations use KPIs for performance assessment and are critical in today’s digital world.

Conclusion

Business leaders are racing to tap into the benefits of digital transformation. They aim to stay ahead of their competitors in the long run. The rapid adoption of digital solutions was the only way to stay competitive in the pandemic. The resulting outcomes are the virtual offices and remote staff working at home. This has accelerated the global transition to the digital economy.

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