7 Digital Transformation Predictions for 2017

November 21, 2016 Nicole Klemp

Investments in data science, business APIs, and agile partnerships will be areas of focus for organizations looking to digitally transform in 2017. Business executives will (and should) feel the pressure to embrace the potential in transforming operating models to enhance digital products and services.
In their report, Predictions 2017: In Digital Transformation, The Hard Work Of Operational Excellence Begins, Forrester Research forecasts what looks to be a more customer- and data-centric year. Here are some highlights from 7 of their digital transformation predictions:

  1. Transformations will focus more heavily on operations.
  2. Get used to hearing more about what Forrester calls “digital operational excellence,” or the idea that organizations must focus more on technology as it relates to their business models and operational execution. 2017 will be a good year to invest more in fundamental transformation, with a focus on improving products, services, and customer and worker experiences.

  3. Tech budgets will increase.
  4. To be competitive in 2017 and beyond, executives will need to start seeing technology investments for what they are — an investment in products, processes, and people. It will be important for leaders to reassess (and most likely, increase) their budgets to allow for end-to-end improvements. Expect the trend of CMOs being more heavily involved in technology spend to continue as well.

  5. Digital business professionals will put more effort into journey mapping.
  6. Instead of designing disparate digital experiences, Customer Experience (CX) professionals will put a bigger emphasis on journey mapping in 2017, and will fine-tune CX through examination of sub-journeys at each touchpoint. Mapping out micro-moments in individual journeys will allow digital teams to optimize processes and design for better engagement.

  7. There will be a shift to embedding insights practices into operating models.
  8. A class of companies that Forrester calls “insights-driven businesses” — like Tesla Motors — are on target to make $1.2 trillion in 2020. Tesla is creating software-defined driving experiences and collecting performance data, which their data scientists use to build models that help automotive engineers improve the driving experience. What they’re doing — turning data into actionable insights —  can be repeated in any organization. Digital business professionals must work to close the loop between data collection and business action.

  9. Agile delivery methodologies will become the norm.
  10. In the coming year, expect to see more of a shift to agile, cross-functional teams. Agile teams will help break down organizational barriers and enable businesses to create better customer and worker experiences. According to Forrester, digital business professionals should champion agile methodologies for different kinds of work (e.g., new products, customer sub-journeys, digital experiences), which may require new leadership models and collaboration tools.

  11. More businesses will build and market their business APIs.
  12. Expect to see more businesses developing an API strategy and treating APIs more like business products. To successfully build and leverage APIs, organizations must find ways for customers and partners to tap into them, and should consider appointing a product manager to oversee their go-to-market strategies.

  13. Service providers will be more essential than ever.
  14. According to Forrester, implementation partners and managed services providers will be instrumental in scaling most digital transformations. It’s difficult for most organizations to dole out the work needed to transform end-to-end. The various components of business transformation (i.e., strategy, design, implementation, operating capabilities) require longer-term relationships with agile technology partners.

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