2018 Prediction: Digital Innovation

By Setrag Khoshafian, Ph.D   |  January 4, 2018
Dr. Khoshafian is Pegasystems' Chief Evangelist, IoT strategist, and strategic BPM (digital processes) technology leader

In the past few years we witnessed a pervasive emphasis on Digital Transformation (DX). Digitization continued to be a top priority. Each year there are predictions on various digital technologies that will impact DX. Examples for 2018 include IoT Predictions, top predictions on DX itself, and Customer Experience predictions – to name a few.

Increasingly the digital culture is becoming extremely important in achieving the potential of Digital Transformation. I covered this in a recent TEDx talk on how culture always trumps technology: no matter how advanced we get in digitization, unless an organization is ready and willing to change and impact its culture, the true potential of digital transformation will be illusive.

The overall 2018 pervasive prediction will be Digital Innovation. What does it mean? Well, under this powerful umbrella there are four critical dimensions complementing technology with culture – as illustrated here.


2018 prediction..


The four dimensions are:

1)  Digital Innovation for Customer Engagement and Experience Optimization – with the Culture of 1:1 engagement and marketing. AI plays a huge role here in treating different customers differently through predictive and machine learning analytics. In 2018 organizations will demand more transparency from AI in prioritizing customer next best actions in particular contexts. Data is the new crude oil but the refineries that yield value are powered through AI. More importantly organizations will realize they need to shift the culture from bulk marketing, siloed organizations, and ad-hoc experiences to digitally transformed 1:1 connected customer engagements. Connected Devices (IoT) will increasingly become customer engagement channels. In addition to AI and Dynamic Case Management for connecting siloed organizations, technologies such as RPA, as well as Intelligent Virtual Assistants will emerge as key enablers. However, the most impactful change will be in corporate cultures that promote 1:1 engagement and marketing as a strategic priority.

2)  Alleviating Silos through Work Automationwork automation enablers for digitizing value streams connecting customers, partners, and the entire ecosystem of organizations are all available through technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Dynamic Case ManagementIoT support and Digital Process Automation. Connecting various siloes in the organizations will become critical. However, here again the potential hindrances to connectivity are cultural. 2018 will see a rekindling of value stream connectivity and comprehensive work automation strategies through digital transformation platforms that support RPA, DCM, IoT, and social interactions – all enabled through AI. Finding a common language and having end-to-end visibility from customer as well as connected device (IoT) interactions all the way to back-end systems will become critical. Prioritizing value stream connectivity is a critical cultural shift that will become ubiquitous. Visibility of the bottlenecks and strengthening of the weakest links in value streams will be painful but necessary. 

3)  Boldness in Innovation with New Emerging Trends: Digital technologies are moving extremely fast. The movement to the Cloud, Robotics, the Rise of Connected Things (IoT) and perhaps the most disruptive of them all: Blockchain – are some of the technologies that will shape (and potentially make or break) companies in 2018. The culture challenge here is that of speed in assimilating these technologies while at the same time – and even more importantly – prioritizing a culture of innovation for discovery and fast development of viable products or services. We have heard of “fail fast but succeed faster.” In 2018 that mantra will becomes a strategic objective. It is interesting to note that technologies such as Blockchain (that is the foundation of cryptocurrencies) actually have profound cultural implications – flattening the world like we have never seen before. It will empower a new generation of innovators and disrupt potentially all industries. Ignoring these technologies and their potential disruptive impact is not an option – hence the importance of the cultural shift. 

2018 prediction..

4)  Best Practices Culture will balance speed of innovation: As organizations try to leverage digitization they are often faced with a healthy tension between two compelling approaches: (1) Digital Innovation Speed: accelerated and expressed digital application development for automation. (2) Digital Competency Best practices: enablement, methodologies, governance, and re-use to optimize delivery of work automation solutions. In 2018 organizations will realize they need to invest in and promote Digital Transformation Competency Centers. Often organizations pursue the next digital technology “shiny object” without taking into account the competency perspective. They will no longer be able to afford that “luxury” as the latter is critical for success. This tension between “hacking” and best practices discipline is as old as engineering! As organizations attempt to accelerate their work automation solutions across the extended digital enterprise, it becomes even more critical to take a closer look at the core competency center strategies. This is perhaps the most important and critical of the cultural shifts – as a robust CC (aka Center of Excellence (CoE)) can provide the healthy milieu for operationalizing all the aforementioned technology and cultural trends.

2018 prediction

It will be an interesting year…