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The Complete Guide to IT Innovation
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Emiliana Samangun
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Although the concept of digital transformation (DX) is decades old, businesses have only applied it in practical ways over the last ten years. Many point to the pandemic as the singular event that pushed DX into overdrive as businesses scrambled to adapt to a remote workforce, online customer demands, and more. Despite this rush to DX, or because of it, many businesses still come up short in their outcomes, as statistics show over 60 percent of digital transformations fail.

There are countless reasons for so many businesses failing to achieve objectives through DX, but they are all rooted in the fact that business outcome needs are constantly changing. The pandemic and countless events in recent years have taught enterprises that being resilient and adaptable takes a combination of digital innovation (DI) and DX.

Every business now wants to understand how to leverage technology evolution for achievable business outcomes. The challenge is that many have a hazy understanding of the differences between DX and DI, and how they work together to make a business resilient and agile in a constantly changing landscape. 

Digital Transformation and Innovation Differences

Although digital transformation looks different for every enterprise and organization, it’s essentially about integrating digital technologies that impact every area of operation. Many businesses still believe technology is the sole means for delivering greater business and customer value. That has led to a global forecast of nearly a doubling of DX spending to 2.8 trillion by 2025, according to Statista.

While DX focuses more on the technology platforms being created, DI focuses on the possible results and business outcomes made possible using technology. That may fundamentally mean a new idea, product, service, or process which significantly alters the business and the market. A holistic approach to DX and DI enables a business to solve existing problems and emerging challenges while having the capability to rethink what is possible.

The result is a true cultural change where people, processes, technology, and ideas work holistically in ways that enable an enterprise to surpass competitors. They do this through interconnected technology implementations that foster an agile and resilient enterprise capable of adapting to new innovations and needs.

Innovation and Transformation for Enterprises Resiliency/Agility

Businesses understand unforeseen events like pandemics, supply chain squeezes, and others will constantly remake the global marketplace. Adapting to those changes requires the agility to plan for targeted business outcomes while simultaneously adapting to unexpected changes. Preparing for digital innovation through digital transformation requires planning, which includes:

  • Recognize your business goals and identify the obstacles or problems in the way of reaching them.
  • Develop a plan for implementation of agile technology and platforms that are informed by current and future innovative business outcome strategies needed to create new digital products, services, and processes
  • Gain C-Suite support and agreement based on the strategy and resulting implementation plan and its business outcomes showing the benefits and ROI of innovation via new products, services, and processes
  • Implement C-Suite accountability measures to ensure they are fully involved in ensuring constant progress, benchmarks, and outcomes
  • Get employee buy-in through idea input coupled with new process education and training on new tools and workflows emphasizing concrete benefits and incentives

Importance of Center of Excellence (CoE)

Businesses cannot put a digital innovation strategy into action and deliver verifiable results and outcomes without the formation of a Center of Excellence (CoE). The CoE is a multi-discipline team helping to direct enterprise-wide technology implementations to ensure the established KPIs of culture operation and market impact success, including:

  • IT Team Experts
  • Internal departmental experts that can bring clarity to needs and innovation possibilities of technology implementation
  • Co-creation and collaborative consultants and SMEs

The CoE provides a continual focus on technology and process improvements benefiting a company’s vision for growth and change. Their knowledge diversity provides accountability to make sure new technology is:

  • Identified
  • Vetted
  • Understood
  • Adopted
  • Implemented
  • Working as intended and delivering the business outcomes and innovation possibilities that make the business more competitive
  • Delivers measurable ROI by monitoring bottom- and top-line impact, benchmark achievements, and training

This is an organization-wide journey requiring input and participation at every level.

Moving Beyond Transformative to Innovative Business Outcomes

Even as companies spend millions on digital transformation initiatives, 30 to 70 percent will fail to meet expectations. The reasons for these business outcome shortfalls consistently align with the areas we have discussed in this blog, including:

  • Strategy
  • Leadership commitment
  • CoE
  • Agile governance
  • Business outcomes focus

The consensus is the challenges stem from a business focus purely on DX and where their apps and services should run. The ideal approach is to think about innovation and business outcomes first. This puts data access and pathways as the guide for building an environment where people and technology foster innovative business outcomes.

A business culture of innovation requires embedding the technology of digital transformation into workflows so people can imagine and implement innovation possibilities. When companies can visualize digital innovation outcome possibilities, they can make better digital transformation decisions. This perpetuates an innovative environment where businesses can duplicate each successful project using transformation tools and customize them for application across multiple business lines.

Creating Innovative Environments with Transformation Tools

To compete and disrupt in today’s global business environment, enterprises must think about how to leverage the tools of digital transformation. These technologies, architectures, and platforms are the foundation of countless innovative possibilities rather than just a means to solve one current challenge. The result is a perpetual innovation engine capable of supporting business outcome idea generation for new services, products, and operational efficiencies.

DI is about looking at DX to see beyond individual technology implementations to their innovative business outcomes. That means understanding their order of implementation to ensure they work holistically towards innovation. There are quite a few interesting and interconnected legacy modernization and DX trends all working in service to innovation, including:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Machine Learning (ML)
  • Deep Learning (DL)
  • Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
  • Computer Vision (CV)
  • Composable Architecture
  • Automation/Hyperautomation

Enterprises must certainly take incremental steps in digital transformation. But they should all be part of a cohesive strategy ensuring and solidifying a business culture of innovation growth with each additional step. Most enterprises have traditionally only seen the impact of individual DX steps. But seeing them holistically creates an environment of innovative business outcomes.

In this section, we’ll show how they all intersect to provide enterprises with innovative transformation possibilities that keep them one step ahead of market, customer, and client demands and changes.

Cloud Transformation Application Modernization/Cloud-Native App Development

Cloud transformation is more than just a means to an end. It’s a means to nearly limitless possibilities when paired with application modernization, cloud-native app development, Edge, IoT, and AI. This is because every business now operates regionally or globally with a mix of on-prem and legacy systems/applications and cloud environments.

Most of these businesses must find ways to take advantage of legacy modernization trends impacting mainframes, siloed databases, and applications with agile cloud and cloud-native environments. Their goal should be to create an approach that balances current needs with future innovation possibilities.

By 2025, 51% of enterprise IT spending will shift to the cloud for those enterprises looking to transition to cloud-based application and infrastructure software, business process services, and system infrastructure, according to Gartner. Gartner also predicts cloud-native platforms will serve as the foundation for 95% of digital initiatives, up from 40% in 2021, according to their technology trends for 2022.

Applications, databases, networks, and computing are the means to creating new experiences, products, and services for end-users and customers. When they’re fragmented and in silos, businesses assume they must take the route of time-consuming and costly builds of new architectures from scratch. But there are ways to create new interface environments enabling incremental change without the costs of rip and replace by implementing:

  • The DX architecture of a cohesive, agile, and interoperable hybrid and multi-cloud approach via solutions like Google Anthos
  • A CI/CD pipeline capable of delivering application modernization and cloud-native app development so DevOps teams work seamlessly and quickly
  • A composable application approach built with modern frontend frameworks to build applications even faster with interchangeable blocks
  • Containerization, microservices, and APIs can, for instance, make IoT platforms beyond the network edge efficient while delivering actionable analytics.

Enterprise digital teams will then have the DX foundation for spurring freedom of innovation. Strategically and incrementally adding IoT, AI, and edge architectures broaden the innovation possibilities even further.

To learn how the cloud can drive application innovation possibilities, follow this link.

AI and Hyperautomation

Every business will need to look beyond automation to Hyperautomation to create an innovative and competitive operational culture. Hyperautomation is about automating all processes your business can automate in ways that show obvious benefits in lowering time, cost, and labor needs. Businesses’ adoption of Hyperautomation reflects these benefits in the global Hyperautomation technology market reaching $596.6 billion in 2022, according to Gartner.

Hyperautomation is a must in a post-pandemic and remote workforce world to support DX scaling. It also supports AI, ML, DL, NLP, and computer vision possibilities that feed real-time intelligence for spurring innovative business outcomes.

This sets the stage for building AI centers of excellence to operationalize the technology and build talent, expertise, and best practices. The next step is federating aspects like AI for direct application to business units for innovative challenge remedies or new business opportunities.

Business problems are distributed, so centralized AI deployments must be second-stage projects. This works well within a digital innovation environment where you still start with developing a centralized AI strategy tied to long-term business impact and outcomes that can include:

  • Revenue
  • Cost savings
  • Marketing positioning
  • Market expansion or new markets
  • Product development
  • New services for end-user processes and customers

AI is now a business-driven endeavor built on digital transformation and shorter proof of concept (POC) projects going full scale. AI and IoT are the tools for solving business problems and enabling innovation focused on customer-facing value and/or internal value. The goal is to break down each process, digitize it and bake in AI via applications to bring efficiencies that make the process faster, cheaper, and better while making room for innovation.

AI also has the potential to change business processes from R&D and usage trends to new service and product development along with the markets where it will take hold.

The goal is to broaden the feeder of innovation possibilities while showing and lowering risks and potential ROI to determine the if, when, and how of implementation. When you apply AI, you can think about the end-to-end value chain and completely re-engineer it. AI/ML and Hyperautomation can enable innovation like:

  • Bringing together all transaction data from all sources for things like digitizing contracts for automatic review for inflation or pricing adjustments
  • Complete inventory data to adjust raw materials usage and visibility between what’s scrap and what’s usable
  • Proactive staffing shortage or work volume increases based on data
  • AI and Hyperautomation are creating opportunities that never existed before, such as small loan viability, which lessens the need for human review that made ROI unattainable. But if AI was used to evaluate and process smaller loans, banks could serve entirely fresh groups of customers without having to charge exorbitant rates to see profitability.

IoT, AI, and Edge Development/Edge Asset Monitoring

Innovation requires the ability to analyze and act on the vast amounts of data being collected, which is transforming how we use the cloud. That means extending the cloud to the edge to lower latency, reduce bandwidth costs, and increase autonomy, security, and privacy. Gartner predicts one-third of all workloads will run at the edge by 2025 with cloud service spending increasing by over 23% for a global market of $332.3 billion, also according to Gartner.

Enterprises will need a connected asset management platform to bring together AI, IoT, cloud, and application development in a holistic package for the connection, monitoring, and management. This helps lower costs and risks while providing data that feeds analytics for actions leading to service, market, and product innovations.

Armed with an understanding of how DX tools and technologies work together with DI is the key to implementing technologies supporting an enterprise culture of holistic innovation. The primary goal is to position your enterprise so your entire workforce can work using a transparent foundation of connected digital transformation. You’re then in the position to visualize and implement innovative possibilities that deliver sound business outcomes.

To explore more innovative possibilities of AI, follow this link.

To learn more about IoT, edge computing, and Innovation, go to our IoT Page.

Autonomous Systems, Robotics, Hardware Fabrication

Collaborative robots (cobots) that interface with human operators, with fully autonomous robots are on the rise to meet changing marketplace needs across every sector. This is because enterprises now operate in a world where innovation is fundamental to competitiveness and growth. The recurring bottlenecks of labor shortages/the great resignation, supply chain fragility, speed, and other factors spurred by the pandemic have accelerated digital innovation priorities.

Enterprises are seeing how the technology of digital transformation can fuel the possibilities of digital innovation via robotics, which is growing fast. Robot orders increased 35% in Q3 2021 over the same period in 2020 with over half of orders from non-automotive sectors. That’s according to Association for Advancing Automation (A3) as reported by, Robotics 24/7, and other industry publications.

Robotics and autonomous system solutions now go far beyond industries like manufacturing, e-commerce, and healthcare to non-traditional industries such as construction, restaurants, and others. This has increased the need for innovation focused on ease of use, interaction, automation, and interoperability where robots and autonomous systems support:

  • Digital automation
  • Share tasks and learn through AI/ML
  • Providing crucial data for analytics and storage in the cloud
  • Autonomous control enablement through edge computing
  • Smart city services
  • Computer vision

DX technologies and DI possibilities are tightly interwoven in ways that make areas like autonomous systems and robots a means to an end rather than an end unto themselves. It’s about more than how they solve a challenge or need today. It’s about the possibilities for new products, services, and customer experiences that can be an outgrowth of an agile and adaptive enterprise IT and OT foundation.

Mobile Application Development

The unpredictable nature of the market and world-changing events like the pandemic are always accelerators of innovation as businesses struggle to adapt to evolving consumer digital needs. Like web apps, mobile application development is an area where digital innovation is the driving force behind meeting unique needs and providing high-quality UX and UI for end-users and consumers

Enterprises across sectors from banking and healthcare to retail and manufacturing are increasingly relying on web and mobile application development to expand multi-experience. “Multiexperience involves creating fit-for-purpose apps based on touchpoint-specific modalities, while at the same time ensuring a consistent user experience across web, mobile, wearable, conversational and immersive touchpoints,” according to Gartner. This shows how the DX of application architectures can expand the possibilities of digital innovation.

5G, IoT, AI/ML, Cloud, and edge computing, among other DX technologies, are driving DI for mobile application development in countless ways. Everything from immersive devices such as smartwatches, smartphones, and voice-driven devices to robotics is defining every aspect of life and business. These bring multiple modes of interaction (type, touch, gestures, natural language) to expand the digital user journey.

To see how application design and development co-creation can drive innovation and customer experience, follow this link.

Exploring Innovation Possibilities

The possibilities of cloud computing, IoT, AI, and edge computing are nearly endless for sectors ranging from healthcare and retail to manufacturing, energy, Telecom, and beyond. These DX tools can all become innovation engines, with AI integrated into systems and applications to manage, analyze, and route data. The use cases of these holistic DX approaches change the innovation possibilities of every industry vertical and consumer habit where examples include:

  • Manufacturing and heavy industries where onsite and remote monitoring of floor operations and machinery can happen via IoT and digital twins to spur innovation.
  • Supply chain visibility with IoT track and trace freight physical and travel conditions
  • Healthcare for medical asset tracking, remote patient monitoring and neuromorphic computing to improve patient treatment and outcomes, wayfinding, and telehealth
  • IoT-driven medical devices for hands-free operation with data processing at the edge as part of data security, regulatory compliance, and faster, more effective healthcare interventions and outcomes
  • Retailer sector stock tracing, sales, and surveillance via Edge computing, AI, computer vision, and analytics. This can lower costs, risks, and inventory spoilage while also creating a rich, interactive shopping experience in stores or even at home
  • Telecom and Energy sector remote access monitoring for cell towers, grids, solar, and wind to gather critical data, instantly adjust to conditions and predict/analyze new market opportunities
  • Utilities: Remote access management, automation, substations
  • The AI-driven visual inspection can be used across retail, manufacturing, airport baggage screening, food and beverage industry, medicine, healthcare, and beyond
  • The ability to determine device and ecosystem configurability and compatibility automatically in homes and smart offices
  • Overcoming connected cities’ challenges via traffic routing, smart lighting, remote roadway and railway inspections, waste management, safety, security, transportation, and public connectivity
  • Self-Driving Car predictive maintenance and software updates at garages and fleet maintenance facilities were relaying a subset of this data to the cloud enabling an understanding of fleet trends
  • Agriculture and smart farming via remote monitoring for waste reduction and sustainability

With most enterprises already in the cloud and using some of these DX tools in some ways, it’s challenging to see the possibilities of a holistic innovation strategy. But finding the right Innovation co-creator can eliminate challenges of missteps and ensure ROI of business outcomes.

Importance of an Innovation Partner for Co-Creation

SMBs and enterprises are still operating in a paradigm that makes it difficult to visualize innovation possibilities, let alone turn them into reality. This often results from their original silo configurations they are slowly breaking down with DX. These remaining silos make communication, collaboration, and sharing difficult in ways that limit possibilities to current problems rather than visualizing opportunities.

It often takes an innovation collaboration partner to help enterprises create a unified view of digital transformation as the means to feed a flourishing digital innovation/business outcomes culture. A partner like Techolution has deep experience across sectors in DX while always seeing the strategy as a means for feeding DI. That’s often the missing link many enterprises have internally and when they seek third-party support.

The idea of using technology as the means to feed the wellspring of innovation is what this blog post is all about. Achieving that outcome requires deep experience and expert teams working across disciplines as an extension of an enterprise’s internal team. They can then learn about the company, its values, and how its people work from an IT and operational technology (OT) perspective.

We built Techolution on this approach so digital transformation and innovation strategies are part of a single, holistic approach. The goal is to help the enterprise implement the technology and provide support and education so the company sees innovation possibilities that can make the market and sector leaders.

Each project is part of a long-term evolution for ensuring the delivery of innovative business outcome opportunities today and in the future. The Techolution fixed price approach also ensures expert personnel needs don’t limit innovative business outcomes. That way, the proposal, and contract are outcomes-driven within a fixed cost, and we can scale personnel up as needed to meet project outcome needs within a defined scope.

Techolution wants to be your co-creation partner that helps you achieve a culture of innovation where possibilities are unlimited. Let’s do it right!

Let's co-create

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