The relationship between UK businesses and advancing technology is never static. Organizations that are first to integrate new tech into their processes have always gained advantages over competitors who are slow to adapt. Yet, digital transformation has fundamentally changed what a successful business looks like, and how it functions. Failure to implement these principles is no longer just a disadvantage, it’s game over. This is why the digital transformation market in the UK is forecasted to be a $68.81 billion USD industry by 2028. Companies will rely upon Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, cloud computing and social media marketing to ensure they can meet the expectations of customers, partners and shareholders.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the process whereby every aspect of a business is converted to generate, or utilize digital resources. It’s swapping from paper to digital receipts and files. It also includes the process of conducting customer service and outreach via social media, allowing AI to increase efficiency via automation of key tasks — basically any data driven, tech forward adjustment to business management. With global adoption of these practices, the bar for success has risen. Businesses in the UK and elsewhere are expected to exhibit a baseline level of agility, efficiency, and communication that simply cannot be achieved by old management models.
The New Digital Normal
Enumerating the dramatic changes achieved via each sector of the UK’s digital transformation market makes it clear why today’s businesses can’t afford to forgo their services. Cloud computing and hosting services revolutionize data management and processing. This is the impetus behind the newly formed Digital Meets Manufacturing Commission. Their stated aim is to create the AMRC Data Cloud to grant greater processing power, cutting edge tools and data access to UK manufacturers. Those that use the system will gain innovation and production advantages over those relying on older, outdated methods.
As for social media, over a third of customers now expect a business to reply to their inquiries or complaints on social media platforms within 30 minutes. 63% say they have actually purchased products via their platform of choice. So social media not only drives communication expectations, but it also drives sales. The recently announced merger between UK digital marketing firms WebMotion Media and SocialMotion Media is a timely example of growth in the sector. The increasing demand and service complexity requires larger, more robust companies just to keep up with the pace of change.
A New Focus On AI
Yet the aspect of digital transformation with the broadest application across all industries is Artificial Intelligence. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future Jobs report, this year AI will log more work hours than human employees when it comes to information and data processing jobs, and retrieving information from databases. This is to say nothing of self-driving cars transforming the transportation and delivery industries, or improvements in diagnosis and treatment of cognitive disorders, or countless other truly transformative effects. As the number one country for AI development in Europe, the UK has positioned itself as a global leader in this sector. The easy access to AI solutions this affords domestic businesses increases the need for them to use those solutions to remain competitive.
The Future of Business is Digital
Industry has always been influenced by technology, but today the relationship has become entirely symbiotic. Digital transformation is not a trend. It represents the evolution of how humans do business as a whole, not just in the UK, but everywhere. This should both inform and change the business culture and outlook of start-ups, as well as existing small businesses, and corporations. At this point, their success depends on it.