Jorik Abspoel, Global Head of Digital, Sogeti, shares with us his top five predictions for Digital in 2020.
Digital is changing the game across every aspect of our lives, whether as developers and testers, consumers, or employers in the digital enterprise.
Here are five of my digital predictions for 2020 – there are many more in this rapidly changing arena:
1. New era in digital shopping
We all know that digital shopping is part and parcel of many people’s everyday lives and has been for some years. But it is changing. For some observers, this change is potentially sinister. I cite a World Health Organization prediction here stating that in the coming years online shopping will be acknowledged as an addictive disorder. That’s because the digital technology used to target online consumers is getting smarter. And consumers are on the receiving end of this development, being constantly bombarded with tempting offers. It is now possible to identify who is buying what, when and why—situational awareness. And even how shoppers are feeling about your brand—sentiment analysis. Technology such as AI and Machine Learning is used to analyze and learn from customer data, measure customer experience and, ultimately, enable targeted and relevant marketing. That’s the sinister bit—for some people, at least. But I predict the emergence of more controls, restraint and responsibility on the part of commercial organizations in their pursuit of the digital shopping wallet. After all, no organization wants a reputation for using digital channels to inappropriately target customers.
2. Growing power of social media consumerism
Have you ever bought a product based on a brand’s social post? You wouldn’t be alone if you had. A rapidly increasing group of online shoppers has bought a product directly through a social post. This represents a new era for digital commerce—often being called social commerce. It’s being made possible by the ability to embed links into the social pages of an online shopping channel. And with global users of social media on a steady upward trajectory, this is one digital development that we can safely predict will grow and grow.
3. Digital drives immersive experiences
Consumers shopping for clothes online often buy several outfits, keeping just one and returning those they don’t like or need. This isn’t just costly for the retailer; it has negative implications for our climate as well. That’s why I’m delighted to predict a growth in the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the digital shopping space. AR apps allow customers to ‘try on’ an outfit before buying. So, they know what they’re getting before placing an order. It’s a similar story with other product segments, such as furniture. Take Ikea, for example, Its Virtual Home Experience enables customers to co-create the look of a particular room using VR. This means there are no surprises when the product is delivered. Expect more developments in this area from 2020 onwards.
4. Rise of intelligent apps and analytics
I predict some level of AI to feature in every application developed in the coming years. One area in particular that will benefit from this is customer experience, which we all know is a critical differentiator. The Capgemini point of view ‘Impact of AI for Customer Experience’ points to “the exponential volume of exploitable data now readily available through digital channels” as one of the key reasons for this increase in the use of AI. Others include the ability of cloud to support huge data volumes at lower cost, and processing hardware breakthroughs enabling deep learning. We will see more intelligent assistants powered by AI being used to support customers and to aid internal employees in finding information. The uses cases are steadily growing and include faster, self-service support, workflow automation and cognitive assistance.
5. Low-code development platforms will shift gears
Software development will continue to drive enterprise innovation for years. Besides traditional software development, low-code platforms are more and more being strategically evaluated as an enterprise wide platform choice. Low-code application development is a way of rapidly building apps with minimal manual coding. It replaces the time-consuming task of hand-writing code with a graphic visualization—like a flow chart—onto which developers drag and drop different elements. This simpler, faster way to build software speeds up innovation and time-to-market. But while many organizations are using low-code platforms to build a range of applications, there has been some reluctance to adopt low code for core and mission critical applications at enterprise level. Fears around scalability, security and workload capacity have been a barrier. Until now. Trust is growing and I predict a greater uptake of low-code development, with more and more teams adopting low-code platforms in 2020 and beyond.
As a footnote to the above, I raise the specter of 5G Internet. Purported to be commercially viable in 2020—and with a promise of high speed and connectivity—will it be ready, or will we have to wait another year or so? Watch this space.