Original Publish Date 01/30/2020 By //  by Teresa Stolarskyj

Digital transformation.

It’s one of those buzzy catch phrases that that tries to say a lot but to some can end up meaning very little. The Enterprisers Project describes it as the “integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”

Whew. Time to take a deep breath and unpack what this means.

Fortunately, BlueSilverShift specializes in digital business transformation. So, who better than our co-founders and fearless leaders, Craig Slack and John Dobson, to weigh in on the topic, and its implications for business in the coming year?

Listeners to our podcast will know that they recently did just that. So, what does 2020 (and the near-beyond) hold for businesses, customers and culture? A few trends emerged in the conversation.

1. Modern Workforce

The way we work is rapidly changing, and that is the crux of the thing: Change.

Tools like Office 365 enable us with flexible, collaborative, and autonomous ways of working. But the tools are only as good as those deploying them – and this is not limited to office workers behind computer screens. Workers in every industry at every level will have to evolve. But tools aren’t the real hurdle. Indeed, the greatest challenge lies in shifting workplace culture and behaviour. For some, it will be hard to accept that the days of learning something once and doing it the same way forevermore are over. The only constant now is change.

Picturesque old village
This seems like a charming place to telecommute from.

Consequently, there is an increasing demand for change management skills. Equipping and supporting workers to embrace a change mindset is imperative, and this should be championed internally as much as it can be. But as systems, processes, and programs change – let alone mindsets – a change management professional can be a valuable ally who provides the ongoing communication, buy-in, training, adoption and reinforcement that successful change requires.

Businesses need to start saying, “there’s so much change, we need to have a process to support the change,”…we need to get used to changing all the time.

– Craig Slack, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, BlueSilverShift

Office 365 is a powerful packet of tools that can influence how people work, but it doesn’t create the change itself. Change management is key in creating a Modern Workplace – and a Modern Workforce that embraces continual evolution.

2. 5G Wireless

Fifth generation wireless technology is sometimes contentious, not least for the recent Huawei scandal. It is coming, though, and it will revolutionize how we engage with the world. At 35 times faster than 4G and considerably less cost for bandwidth, connectivity of devices will be ubiquitous, not just to the Internet, but to the world:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect together anything that can
  • PCs will connect from anywhere
  • 4K (Ultra HD) video streams will be continuous
  • Data systems will reach unprecedented depths of analysis
  • Gaming will shed its latency, and streaming will be able to handle more complex information loads, raising multi-player capacity well beyond its current limits.

Moreover, 5G can save costs by replacing home cable and internet as your computer simply connects to your phone. Technology will continue to facilitate virtual meetings, saving the cost and time of travel (however near or far, it still renders an economy of time). While face-to-face meetings will always have a place, Virtual Reality and holograms can help make digital meetings feel almost like the real in-person thing. Improving the customer experience – and we are all customers, after all – is a major part of digital transformation.

Could 5G also change our communities?

The cost of rent is expensive in any of the world’s big cities. Connectivity can help smaller cities to draw more tech start-ups, enabling more people to go to smaller cities. Smaller cities mean cheaper real estate, and cheaper real estate means better quality of life. “Everyone wins.”

John Dobson, Co-founder and Chief Cloud Officer, BlueSilverShift

3. Blockchain

Blockchain is known as the back-end transaction method for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But it will take on other lives as new use cases unfold.

As an open source technology, anyone can adopt the Bitcoin framework and use it behind their application or platform. Not to be confused with cryptocurrency in general, blockchain is essentially a transaction journal. In currency terms it acts as a kind of escrow between parties, holding money paid until a contract is fulfilled, then paying those funds out. It verifies the source and establishes trust between parties.

Someone paying by tapping a phone.
Remember when this seemed like a ridiculous idea?

It is strict enough to attach money to; indeed, it is absolute. Because of that, it will become more prevalent across different use cases. Even buying and selling commercially in realtime will simplify, bypassing the complicated multi-party methods used today.

These are our predictions. What about yours?

Digital transformation is a vast topic, too wide ranging to capture in a short blog. While we focus on the benefits of the technological evolution, some effects could be considered adverse, including a drive for immediacy and short attention spans, necessitating brief messages and highly visual presentations.

Yet the change is already unfolding. Where do you think it will go in 2020 and beyond? And how will it impact your own business?  

PS. For those podcast listeners left wondering whether “workforce” is a trademarked term by Salesforce, we could not corroborate this through trademark searches. But we are not lawyers and welcome being disproved.

Teresa Stolarskyj | Office Manager & Digital Transformation Blogger at BlueSilverShift