Is digital transformation dead? Well, for the majority of organizations, the transformation is over. They may not all have become butterflies, but most have acquired wings of some kind.
Today, we are looking at evolution. At this point, any group missing the digital gene is probably extinct. The focus has gone beyond whether or not you will have digital platforms. It is on how those systems will grow and change the way you operate, and more significantly, the way you think.
Examples of the impact of digital evolution on behavior and life are plentiful. These are a few of the most obvious:
- The rise of e-commerce is closing shopping malls and permanently altering consumer habits.
- For better or worse, social media creates a new form of communication.
- The Internet of Things gives objects a brain and connects them to each other.
Business is no exception to this metamorphosis. Organizations are becoming cyborgs or integrated with and inextricable from, the technology that keeps them operating.
Leaders who acknowledge that journey will be among the fittest and the best suited to succeed in a new environment.
Actually, the process is more like an exploration than a journey. Success depends on studying the route and knowing what you’ll need in your backpack to be prepared for the challenges. Understanding trends before they become essentials is key to staying on track. These are several recent developments to keep in your sights.
You don’t need me to tell you this is important. Blogs, social media, and the mainstream press are on fire with the breaking news. But you might be wondering how, or whether, AI will impact your organization.
First, pay attention. AI is graduating from phenomenon to mainstream quickly. It’s a component of most emerging technologies.
If you have a chatbot, you’re already using AI functionality. In the near future, your bot may develop superpowers like the ability to predict user questions and proactively respond. Or to create FAQs for each of your platforms based on trending inquiries.
Other areas where AI can make an impact are:
- Meetings and Events—Use predictive analytics to identify which venues will generate the highest number of registrations.
- Products and Services—Develop new offerings based on data and behavior.
- Member Engagement
- Personalize everything from invitations to events to email campaigns.
- Use gamification to provide individualized loyalty programs.
- Governance—Develop meeting agendas based on previous history, take and transcribe minutes, and identify potential leaders using criteria such as participation, credentials, and demographics.
- Education—Tailor personalized learning journeys, create course outlines, and aid in the development of test questions and learning materials for certification programs.
- Communications/philanthropy—Use analytics to forecast campaign results, segment audiences in unique and impactful ways, and craft individualized appeals referencing past interests and behavior.
Low Code/No Code Software Development
The ability to create applications without code seems magical. There is an ongoing debate around ruling the software—customization. Or letting it rule you–adjusting business practices to the demands of the program. Bitter feuds are fought over this issue. The software typically wins as a result of the resources that are required to build a custom platform.
Sometimes “out of the box” is a wise decision that ends redundant business practices. On the other hand, canned platforms can also be like a shoe that never quite fits and keeps workers dependent on IT professionals to help them access the specialized data they need.
No code options have the potential to unleash the office from IT, liberating employees to customize their tools to fit individual needs. Building blocks based on point-and-click or drag-and-drop techniques, allow anyone to become a developer. According to Gartner, by 2024 low-code applications will account for more than 65% of all application development activity.
Some examples of functions that can be automated with no-code software are:
- Employee onboarding procedures. Track a new employee’s progress through training exercises and materials. Likewise, with board development or any other learning activity.
- Conference engagement—Build a customized app for your conference that keeps attendees informed and engaged.
- Operational efficiencies—Create an app to manage employee purchase requests or expense reporting and automate approvals.
- Marketing tasks—Send email newsletters, track website traffic, and manage social media campaigns.
The following are a few providers of point-and-click platform builders.: Bubble, Glide, Appsheet, Webflow, and Wix. I have not experimented with these products—yet. And, I’m interested to try putting them through their paces.
Now that we’re accustomed to meeting on Zoom, will your next conference venue be the metaverse? Probably not in 2024, but this unique terrain is waiting for exploration.
The metaverse is attracting billions of dollars in investments from the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Qualcomm. Facebook even changed its name in what can only be seen as an advance grab on this technology. McKinsey & Company predict that by 2030 the metaverse economy could reach $5 trillion.
But what exactly is this mysterious electronic environment? The answer is—it’s complicated. There are a wide range of definitions with examples that range from virtual stores to internet operating rooms. Gartner offers this explanation.
“A metaverse is a collective virtual 3D shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. A metaverse is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences. Gartner expects that a complete metaverse will be device-independent and will not be owned by a single vendor: It will have a virtual economy of itself, enabled by digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”
Here are several additional takes on the concept:
- “The metaverse is the next evolution of the internet.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta
- “The metaverse is a convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet.” Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash
- “The metaverse is a persistent, online 3D world that is inhabited by users who can interact with each other and with digital content.” Matthew Ball, venture capitalist
For me, virtual reality is the defining characteristic of the metaverse—the ability to appear to be in the same room, when we are actually in separate places. I can imagine that functionality redrawing the way we work and convene on every level.
Right now, that experience requires some clunky headgear. But a fundamental rule of technology is that devices shrink in size and cost over time. When Apple, Microsoft, or some other tech platform introduces equipment that is as affordable and easy to wear as sunglasses, then we will truly become citizens of cyberspace.
After our digital passports are stamped, it’s hard to know what other geographies the evolution of technology will invite us to explore. The challenge is to be ready for the possibilities—To understand the trends and prepare your organization to travel to the new destinations they create.