Technology is changing the way organizations do business across all major industries. New technologies (and new applications of existing technologies) are being developed all the time, and businesses are naturally looking for ways to incorporate emerging technologies into their operations.
As IT service providers, emerging technologies are constantly changing the way we operate and improving the level of service we are able to offer our customers. At a minimum, new technologies are:
- Enabling new business models and revenue streams
- Enhancing the customer journey
- Improving the speed and quality of customer service
- Facilitating huge efficiency gains in operational processes
With so many exciting new technologies coming to market, it can be hard for businesses to keep up. For example:
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation can be used to automate business processes that are repetitive or time consuming, e.g. an account opening process.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and Operational Technology (OT) help organizations collect and analyze data about critical systems and processes at an unprecedented scale.
Smart Analytics solutions help businesses organize massive quantities of operational data and use it to inform process improvements.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help improve the responsiveness and quality of customer service via automated solutions like chatbots.
Blockchain / Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) enables new business models across all industries, particularly those that rely on secure transfer of digital rights such as licensing of art, music, and software.
Before the end of 2019, we will see even more newer technologies in development that will enable benefits to efficiency and customer experience.
Technology as an Enabler
As beneficial as technology undoubtedly is, it’s not the end result. Nobody adopts a new technology purely for the sake of novelty — it must provide genuine business value.
At the same time, new technological advances are available to everyone. IT service providers can’t claim new technologies as a differentiator, because for the most part everybody in the marketplace has access to the same technological opportunities.
After all, we don’t talk about the competitive advantages of the telephone. Why? Because every business has them. The important thing is how businesses use the telephone to promote business objectives.
The situation is the same with new technologies. It’s not about “what” technology you have access to, it’s about “how” you use that technology to produce the desired outcome.
In the IT world, the adage goes that the priority should always be:
People → Process → Technology
In other words, technology on its own is of no value unless you have the right people and processes in place to take advantage of. Even if you work backward by developing technologies to fit in with existing people and processes, you need to have the operational expertise to understand where and how an emerging technology can be used to realize a genuine business benefit.
As IT service providers, the secret to harnessing the power of emerging technologies is in two key areas:
- Building and maintaining strong customer relationships, and developing a deep understanding of where customers’ pain points lie
- Having flexibility in your business model that enables you to identify and adapt emerging technologies to meet your customers’ real-world needs.
More Disruption to Come
Technology is evolving at a tremendous rate. New technologies are being developed all the time, usually before we’ve even had a chance to see how the previous headline-making technology will play out.
Businesses all over the world are starting to adopt AI, IoT/OT, several unique forms of automation, block-chain, and several other emerging technologies — none of which are fully mature. At this moment, we still don’t know the extent to which these technologies will change the way we do business.
Despite this, there’s no doubt that new technologies will continue to be developed and harnessed for business purposes.
Naturally, IT service providers need to keep a close eye on the technology landscape to rapidly identify and deploy emerging technologies that have the potential to solve real-world business challenges. At the same time, they must be cautious not to get carried away by the hype of a new technology if it doesn’t have clear applications for their customers.
For this to be possible, IT service providers must develop a deep understanding of their customers’ business environments. Without this, they simply will not be able to select and develop the best technologies to solve their customers’ real-world business challenges.