Digital transformation is a term that CIOs and business leaders have been using quite a bit over the last few years. Often, it’s a buzzword that is spoken casually to refer to using technology to enhance business value.

But what does digital transformation really mean? And how does integration of systems in your business contribute to the digital transformation of your business?

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation refers to how businesses adapt in order to secure the value of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is seeing advances in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and robotics, among other fields.

Let’s unpack that statement.

Businesses Adapting to Secure Value

Digital transformation is an overhaul, a re-engineering, of business processes and strategies. It accounts for the fact that the current technological revolution means that businesses must adapt to remain competitive and to meet customer expectations.

As services improve, customers demand more. Consider the example of shipping. You used to wait 2 weeks for package delivery. Now, 2 days isn’t fast enough. You want it in 2 hours, right? The businesses that meet those elevated expectations will be successful.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

The World Economic Forum popularized the term The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Building on the the Third Industrial Revolution’s introduction of personal computers and the internet, the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings more connectivity to the world. Such connectivity includes not only bringing most of the world population online, but also integrating systems to achieve new breakthroughs.

In his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab speaks of the need to connect systems to create new models of service.

“As the shift from ownership to shared access accelerates (particularly in cities), data sharing will be a necessary part of the value proposition. For example, car-sharing schemes will require the integration of personal and financial information across multiple companies in the automotive, utility, communications and banking sectors.” (Schwab, p. 53)

The World Economic Forum partnered with Accenture to create the Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI), which focuses on “ensuring that the benefits of digital transformation are fairly and widely shared.” A 2017 report by DTI claims that, over the next decade, digitalization could unleash $100 trillion in value.

Integrating Your Systems for Your Digital Transformation

Let’s be clear—digital transformation is much more than integration. It is likely a radical change in your business strategy and processes, accounting for both the reality of new digitalization across business departments and the reality of elevated customer expectations.

But, without a doubt, integration is an inevitable component in your business’s re-engineered strategies and processes. The nimble companies that meet the radical shifts in customers’ expectations are those companies whose systems talk with one another. They give relevant departments needed information to develop the best products and solutions possible and to serve customers the best way possible.

When Accenture onboards new customers onto their ServiceNow offering, they assume that customers will want integration. “Before we went live with any clients we knew we had to have an integration facility,” says Jonathan Livingston, Application Architect at Accenture, “because almost every one of our clients has some level of integration to a system that they own and they run.”

What does digital transformation mean for your integrations?

1. Big Data Analytics

One breakthrough of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the phenomenon of big data. In 2017, it was determined that 90% of the world’s data was created in the previous two years, with just 0.5% of that data having been analyzed. Such a rate of data creation presents new and enormous opportunities for analytics.

Your company has a mountain of new data as well, giving you vast opportunities to report on and learn about your company, your suppliers, and your customers. Integrations will help you to strengthen your analytics without performance impacts on production instances.

2. Automation

A key theme in digital transformation is automation. Businesses automate for artificial intelligence, for robotics, and for Internet of Things. How does automation play a role in service management?

IT teams automate many service-management elements, including knowledge management, incident management, and reporting.

Virteva found that nightly transfers of knowledge articles was not frequent enough. When an outage or another disruption occurred, level two staff needed to communicate immediately to level one support personnel. So Virteva automated knowledge management through real-time integration.

3. New Services

Chasing to keep up with customer expectations, businesses differentiate by offering new services. Because siloed data and apps weaken the quality and reduce the efficiency of those services, integration is essential. With new services being made available, businesses create new streams of revenue, boosting their financial stability.

Intermountain Healthcare offered new services for their users when they implemented an integration solution for reporting needs. After doing so, they went further and created a new catalog offering of reports and analytics that the new integration solution made possible.

Prioritizing Integration for Your Digital Transformation

If your business is starting an initiative in digital transformation, plan for integration to serve a key role. If you are continuing a digital transformation initiative, you may be realizing that integration looms larger than you had originally planned for.

Whatever stage of digital transformation you’re in, we’d love to hear about your interest in using integration to stay competitive as more and more businesses move toward digital transformation. Reach out; let’s chat.

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