Moving beyond trends, and beyond the digital frontier

July 26, 2019

In the beginning, there was digital experience, analytics and, cloud. Of the nine Marco forces, these three have consistently captured most mindshare and dollars in investment over the last decade, and with a good reason. But, today they are the pillars upon which many ambitions for the future are built. And we are far from being done.

Digital experience

When the term digital entered the business technology roughly a few years ago, it was used as shorthand for customer-facing sales and marketing with an emphasis on a specific channel, be it social, mobile, or web. Today, the word “digital” is increasingly used with experience to describe all the ways organizations, customers, employees, and constituents engage and carry out transactions within digital environments. It is not only for the front office but for the entire enterprise. For instance, how health plans are deploying new tools to simplify the pre-authorization of claims. Behind the scenes, cognitive algorithms, robotic automation, and predictive analytics tools are approving more of the simple and rote use cases that used to dominate many employees workdays. Instead, workers can spend more of their time on nuanced, Complex cases with an opportunity to more directly affect the health and wellness of their member population. Or how leading fast food and other restaurants are adopting mobile apps for remote ordering, not only improving the customer experience nut also re-designing retail, preparation and delivery options. Human-centered design and user engagement have become the topmost priority for business strategy- emphasizing on how work gets done, how business gets conducted, and how meaningful Data is.


Data and its underlying complexities have been an enterprise narrative since the earliest days of technology investment. The promise of analytics has been close and even a more tantalizing spiritual successor—taking advantage of that data to generate insights about customers, citizens, markets, operations and virtually every facet of how an enterprise runs. Most analytics efforts have struggled to deliver on the simplest version of that potential: the rear-view mirror describing what has already happened—or for the advanced few, presenting real-time views into what is currently happening. In the science of analytics, this is valuable but insufficient.


One could argue that during the last decade, no single technology trend has so dominated the arena of enterprise IT as a cloud. During this time, it emerged from modest discussions of, “what is a cloud?” and “why does it matter?” to the next phase which is emphasized, “where and when do we use the cloud to lower costs?” to cloud’s status today: “Why not cloud?” Cloud moved from low-level technology cost arbitrage to a means for delivery model optimization to a driver of business transformation.

Simply put, the cloud is increasingly the foundation upon which innovation is built.

As macro forces go, the cloud is unparalleled in importance and likely will remain so for some time. And despite its ubiquity, cloud to has yet to reveal its full potential. Too many companies still think of the cloud as a means for lifting and shifting workloads, or as simply the extension of data centre or infrastructure strategy. But this is changing as some begin to ask more complex, future-focused questions: Can we use cloud-native services to build our products faster? How do we use the massive compute capacity to process more data and create new products? Could a new cloud back office create an engine for M&A agility? Are there advantageous tax implications of using cloud up, down and across the stack? In the coming years, expect to see major cloud service providers emphasize their offerings potential value as platforms and patterns for achieving long term growth and developing new innovation.

Block chain

Block chain technology continues on the path towards broad adoption as an organization gains a deeper understanding of its transformational value, within and their industries. The word block chain was known only in relation to cryptocurrency

Today, block chain is to trust what the web was to communication: a profoundly disruptive technology that transforms not only business but the way humans transact and engage. And large enterprises and consortia management and data architecture provide more dynamic approaches to ingesting, classifying and correlating data, using the very machine learning, natural language upon which cognitive is built. But most organizations remain in the early days of the journey. Just as important is the broader culture and organizational dynamic. Becoming data drove and analytically curious is hard enough; there is an extra leap of faith to allow machines to decision and actuate core business capabilities.

Bottom Line The Marco forces are the enduring technology trends that will continue to shape strategies and dominate investment priorities. But importantly, the forces are not independent, isolated entities. And they’re only partially compelling as stand-alone concerns. The narrative from the “what” of the enabling technology into the “so what” of their combined effects—moving beyond trends, and beyond the digital frontier.

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Written by Zamask

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