As we slowly (but surely) emerge from the pandemic crises, organizations are grappling to make sense of a host of unprecedented disruptions across their operational and technological landscape – with more convergence across OT and IT than ever before. Many find themselves carrying significant technical debt due to having paused technology projects and investments over the past couple of years. Concurrently, they’re looking to put their accelerated digitalization budgets to work to help them redefine and reinvigorate the way they engage with their workforce, customers, suppliers, partners and communities.
Amidst this clamor, at NTT we’re seeing first-hand an eagerness by our clients to leverage new technologies that deliver greater levels of resilience, sustainability and future prosperity – a future made possible with what we might consider to be beyond digital agility…i.e. ‘digital vitality’.
Digital vitality refers to the readiness of an organization to not only fully leverage the accelerated digitalization that happened during the pandemic but also adopt key emerging technologies to amplify the business outcomes and the transformation made possible following the disruptions of Covid-19. Aligned with a traditional growth agenda, how to optimize key technologies has emerged as top priorities for CEOs in 2022.
According to our own recent NTT research, right now, CIOs’ top 4 areas of focus for enabling their future technology and business strategies are:
- AI and machine learning
- Data management (visualization and analytics)
- Mobility (including 5G connectivity)
A recent analysis by Ernst and Young illuminates some of the ways that the pursuit of digital vitality is powered by this interest in emerging technologies. The research revealed that the push to leverage digital infrastructure is stronger than ever. Specifically, there’s particularly keen investment interest in IoT and 5G. Even more pointedly, the study also found that businesses are now looking to engage with their partners and providers in a way that more meaningfully leverages technologies in service of business recovery and sustainability.
Our own recent research conducted supports these findings, with 72% of CEO respondents strongly agreeing that the pandemic has highlighted technological progress and that this will be instrumental to their organization’s future success.
A digital coach: staying on top of your communications, connectivity and data intelligence game
Think of any elite athlete from any sport that you follow or might play yourself. Let’s take Serena Williams. This top ranking world athlete holds 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
Now, even when she is at her prime to compete, Serena still has her elite coach with whom she regularly engages to review plans, absorb new information and insights, and set a roadmap drive consistently high performance. A high performance coach is responsible for staying up to date on the latest in muscle mechanics, rehabilitation, nutrition, etc. – all the elements that come together to ensure optimal performance while focusing on high performance outcomes as defined in that point on the trajectory of progress.
This next era of Connected Industries – of mass connectivity, communication and data intelligence across people, things, places and machines, will be about the ability to harness dramatic digitalization and adopt emerging technologies with agile innovation practices. No matter what industry you’re in, digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. It’s no longer prominently about ‘digital maturity’ or ‘digital agility’; it’s about your ‘digital vitality’ and engaging with a service provider partner that can be your elite coach to keep you at the top of your game.
At NTT, our New Ventures and Innovations practice starts with learning as much as we can about a client’s business challenges and/or opportunities that the pandemic surfaced in short order. We assess their current state of readiness to harness key enabling technologies across multiple organizational dimensions. Next, we map enabling technologies to the defined objectives and KPIs that will get them to where they can be and that align with their overarching strategic imperatives. We leverage design thinking principles to create a pilot roadmap that optimizes the impact of a new technology or platform. Upon a successful pilot, we deploy, operate and optimize the designed utility throughout the organization at scale.
This allows us to embark on a flywheel of powerful co-innovation with our clients – not just as a vendor but even more so as a trusted partner.
Now, in some cases, clients are still operating on a ‘response’ mode in the absence of a fully vetted digital transformation strategy. In fact, our research reveals that only 48% of CIOs say that their organization’s overall technology strategy is fully aligned with their business strategy. Coming out of the pandemic, we know that it’s going to be more important than ever that we collaborate closely with a wider set of executive stakeholders than perhaps we have historically engaged. The digital transformation roadmap will involve the offices of technology, operations, strategy, innovation. Our commitment is to come equipped in this journey with our clients with the ability to navigate them through this next chapter of high-performance outcomes.
Each milestone will have its unique challenges and surprises, but we’re confident that together we will traverse new and innovative territories that yield the next era of growth and prosperity.