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Benefits and Risks of the Digital Transformation

It is a fact that this new wave of digital transformation has changed how we live our everyday life. We make purchases with our phone, each choice we make on a website is recorded and we measure all our physical activity through wearable technologies and are tracked by GPS. Subsequently, innovation is also changing many of the fundamental ways in which we conduct business including how companies engage and interact with their customers. While this digital transformation provides convenience, the variety of new touchpoints with customers also create risks. In fact, 64% of managers recognize that cybersecurity is an essential pillar in the success of their transformation and in their objectives of better serving their customers. The integration of IT security in this model helps to reconcile the threats and opportunities that are characteristic of this new era.


The Slow Adoption of the Internet of Things and Cloud Technology

Most enterprises are only scratching the surface of the digital transformation. Indeed, a recent survey demonstrates that only 38% of organizations have already started their IoT journey. However, 57% are planning to imminently, and 69% plan to increase their investment in IoT over the next year. This effectively makes 2017 a critical year for the IoT technology adoption cycle. While consumer products have arrived as revenue generators, the biggest drive is likely to be industrial (TechRepublic).

Cloud technology is generating similar hype. An increasing number of companies do not want to own and run expensive data centers and the IoT load is only going to strengthen these convictions. Many organizations do not have the resources to store the terabytes and terabytes of data that will be streaming in as a result of the IoT trend. The search for more efficient storage and analytical solutions are unavoidable consequences of the digital transformation.

The notion of big data analytics has been around for a while (“big data” even became a buzzword in the industry!), but even tech savvy businesses are still struggling with the analysis of unstructured data such as customer behavior metrics. Decoding this data in a timely manner can open many possibilities to deliver marketing and sales insights.

In 2015, Forbes noted that “more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race” and that “by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet”. Out of all that information, only about 0.5% is analyzed at this point. As a matter of fact, there is a whole world of possibilities out there, and there is an important convergence between the IoT, the Cloud and big data:

“IoT is generating massive volumes of structured and unstructured data, and an increasing share of this data is being deployed on cloud services. The data is often heterogeneous and lives across multiple relational and non-relational systems, from Hadoop clusters to NoSQL databases. […] As a result, demand is growing for analytical tools that seamlessly connect to and combine a wide variety of cloud-hosted data sources. Such tools enable businesses to explore and visualize any type of data stored anywhere, helping them discover hidden opportunity in their IoT investment”. (Source: Dan Kogan, Tableau)

What About Privacy and Security?

Of course, these new technologies also come with their fair share of security and privacy issues that have already sparked heated debates. Among other things, experts predict an increase in the number and sophistication of attacks focused on these technologies (see ”3 reasons why your CISO is critical to your business success”). Policy makers will have to step in to impose stricter regulations such as privacy by design, which is already mandated by the European General Data Protection Regulation, effective in May 2018 and with an extra-territorial application.