Digital Transformation Is Moving Along – What’s Next?

Zebra Technologies presents 2018 insights on the industry

Deep Agarwal, regional sales director, India, Zebra Technologies.

As we come to the end of the year, there are multiple predictions being made for 2018. Here, Deep Agarwal, regional sales director, India, Zebra Technologies, presents 2018 insights on the industry.

BW CIO: What are the trends that Zebra foresees for the coming year 2018?

Deep Agarwal: We see the following trends:

* Digital transformation continues to resonate as businesses recognize the need to get more intelligent. Businesses are leveraging ties between the physical and digital worlds to enhance visibility and mobilize actionable insights.

* Businesses need to leverage the 3 As (Analytics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence) to embrace an “on-demand” economy. The 3 As will be the key to building up modernized systems that help businesses provide more compelling and personalized customer experiences.

* Businesses are relying on critical real-time data and analytics software to gain visibility for next best action. They need to capture more critical real-time data and need solutions that will integrate it with analytics to unlock deep insights and greater visibility.

* Locationing technology is generating effective tracking data for visibility into smart decision-making. Real-time locationing system (RTLS) is key to provide effective tracking data with higher accuracy to perform advanced/predictive analytics.

* Transformation continues in retail industry at a healthy pace with increased focus on extending the role of stores to service centers. Forward-looking retailers are transforming their business models to offer convenience and more positive customer experience.

* Hospitals are digitalizing workflows to optimize the quality of patient care and operational efficiency. With the aid of technologies, doctors and nurses will be able to free up their minds and hands to focus on quality patient care.

BW CIO: What are the key technologies that businesses are leveraging to realize digital transformation?

Deep Agarwal: The digital and physical worlds are merging to create an immersive, digitally enhanced environment. The intelligent digital mesh is a foundation for future digital business and ecosystems. Advanced mesh applications will exploit communication through multiple modalities and enhance collaboration via cloud systems.  

Key technologies that businesses are leveraging to realize digital transformation:

* Businesses are now immersed in using IoT to augment systems of record with real-time data, to obtain an accurate view of critical operations which impact efficiency and cost models. The Internet edge is becoming increasingly relevant to obtain data for business visibility, analytics and actionable insights.

* Artificial intelligence and machine learning are permeating into virtually everything, to deliver more adaptable, flexible, and potentially autonomous systems.

* Greater focus on enabling ‘hands-free’ workflows through wearable adoption at point of operation.

* Conversational systems enable people and machines to use multiple modalities to communicate across the digital world.

* Digital twins can simulate real-world conditions, respond to changes, augment operations and add intelligence value to prevent downtime and develop new opportunities.

BW CIO: What are the challenges faced by businesses when it comes to on-demand economy?

Deep Agarwal: Against the backdrop of on-demand economy, businesses are facing the following challenges:

* The need to provide better, more compelling and personalized customer experiences.

* Changing fulfillment models that enable the delivery to customers of what they want, when they want it and how they want it delivered.

* The resulting impact to the supply chain, managing inventory levels and anticipating operational needs in near real-time processing capabilities.

These challenges have driven customers to re-think how to run their daily operations.

How businesses best get the right information to the right person at the right time. This is why accelerating technology deployments to gain visibility of assets, people and products to understand specific demands is key. As a result, businesses are considering operational and operating procedure changes required to deploy more modernized systems that leverage the 3A’s: Analytics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence.

BW CIO: How can businesses get ahead of the competition?

Deep Agarwal: Businesses need to provide personalized experiences to customers as digital natives embrace “conversational commerce” as table stakes.

Delivering to customers in “their moment of need” – what they need when they need it and how they want that need fulfilled. This will be a common trend across products and services in the B2B and B2C sectors.

As a result, we’ll see the supply chain move from “forecasting” to anticipating and predicting needs to keep up with the pace of the “on-demand” economy.

BW CIO: How is Zebra foreseeing the demand of critical real-time data and analytics?

Deep Agarwal: Businesses are increasingly investing in their systems to take advantage of better and faster data.

We see this trend showing itself in a number of ways: the rise of 2D (more data in a bar code), RFID (faster reading of data) and innovative integrated solutions with new data capture technologies combined with integrated advanced analytics software.

Businesses are looking to expand the definition and capabilities of data capture – to capture more business-critical data, and to do it more automatically. They need solutions that will take data capture to the next level and integrate it with analytics that make that data easier to understand and act on.

Businesses are keen to have visibility into decision-making optimization that impacts workflow execution. They also need predictive analytics’ tools to obtain new insights to drive faster business transformation, new business models, and root cause analysis to reduce costs.


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