Exploring Digital Transformation in 2023

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In his role as chief digital strategist for Genpact, Sanjay Srivastava has a unique view of how people, processes, data, and technology align to support business objectives – the type that propels sustainable competitive advantage. Consulting with the CIOs, CDOs, and CTOs of the world’s largest and most innovative companies gives him an idea of what digital transformation trends could unfold in 2023.

Here are Sanjay’s top five, and below are his thoughts on each topic:

1. Moving from data-poor to data-rich

Data exists in many places, and it’s no secret that companies struggle to use most of it. This concept is known as dark data. Essentially, data hides in plain sight but is unknown or inaccessible to business leaders, causing them to feel data-poor.

In 2023, I expect companies to move from data-poor to data-rich for two reasons: first, business operations have more digital devices embedded, so we have new and more visible data sources. Secondly, artificial intelligence (AI) can take previously unstructured data and easily convert, extract, and put it to productive use at scale.

Some data-rich enterprises are already harnessing the power of data to create modern customer experiences. Consider the travel industry. With one app on your phone, you can view schedules, check if your flight is on time, buy tickets, view loyalty benefits, pick a seat, track your bag, complain or compliment – it’s an experience that connects customers and the employees who serve them. 2023 will become a year for change for many other industries as well.

2. The shift from big data to big AI 

Big data is often messy. To make the best use of data, data and analytics teams devote valuable time and resources to managing, governing, cleansing, and wrangling it.

But as we see repeatedly, it’s not the amount of data you have that matters; it’s how you use it selectively and effectively. For example, large language models (LLM) – some of the most advanced deep learning algorithms capable of understanding conversational language – make data more usable. With LLM, an employee could ask for “a report comparing Q4 2022 sales to Q4 2021,” and the LLM delivers the request instantaneously. Here, AI evolves from being directionally accurate to specifically correct.

This is big AI – and as a result, enterprises are experiencing higher performance from out-of-the-box models compared to traditional models trained with big data. Consequently, big AI is reducing the need for big data.

3. Bridging the gap between business and technology with AI

As I explored in the second trend, big AI brings the power of artificial intelligence to everyone. In other words, AI is bridging the gap between business and technology expertise. Business leaders no longer need to speak the language of technology leaders and vice versa – but they can work together effectively.

For example, now that AI can generate new content and create realistic images and art from a simple phase, we’re entering an era where AI can write code for applications, and we will see next-generation applications accessible to everyone. 

The rise of intelligent applications will create the need for stronger controls and governance in order to keep  shadow-IT initiatives in check.  However, rather than driving a wedge between business and technology teams, these AI-powered solutions lay the foundation for a data-driven enterprise where everyone can use AI to get work done quickly and efficiently.

4. Technology is the key to a sustainable future

Adopting sustainable business practices is no longer optional. Instead, it’s something every employee, customer, and partner will consider when deciding which companies to work for, buy from, and work with. And this trend will become even more prevalent in 2023.

In response, technology leaders are increasingly using advanced analytics and AI to support sustainability goals. They analyze their internal and external data to identify opportunities for carbon reduction, measure their carbon footprint, and use these insights to reduce their impact on the planet.

Beyond tangible benefits, sustainable business practices are an opportunity for business and technology collaboration, as tech leaders can help business leaders measure and optimize their sustainability efforts.

There is also a shift in how enterprise leaders view sustainability. Instead of seeing it as a drain on budget and resources, organizations can balance purpose with profit. What’s more, as sustainability initiatives drive greater competitive advantage, innovation, and financial performance, sustainability investments will continue to grow.

5. Digital transformation is 80% people, 20% tech

Enterprise leaders must manage digital transformation in stages. The process begins with experimentation and the incubation of ideas into pilot programs. Then, you can scale these pilots into production. Finally, once in production, you can enhance your digital programs continuously.

But often, the most overlooked enabler of successful digital transformation is managing organizational change and culture. It’s about how you build a business that constantly adapts to the external environment and never gets stuck in existing ways of doing things. And this is where people play a crucial role.

I say that digital transformation is only 20% about the tech and 80% about the people. Why? Because you need an organization full of data-literate, AI-enabled, and innovative talent to turn your digital aspirations into a reality.

As your business needs continue evolving, the skills of your employees must keep pace. For example, consider roles like SEO specialists, telemedicine physicians, and drone operators, which didn’t exist until relatively recently.

To thrive in this new environment, business and technology leaders must continue to seek, attract, retain, and develop technology talent across their organizations for success in 2023 and beyond.

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