CIO magazine’s Clint Boulton recently interviewed Forrester Research analyst Allen Bonde for his thoughts on digital transformation trends on the horizon for 2019. In the new year, Bonde predicts that businesses will focus less on “big brush digital transformation” and more on outcomes that can be realized quickly and practically.

Summarized below are some of Bonde’s key digital business predictions for 2019:

  1. Digital transformation becomes more measured — To quote Bonde, “Transformation takes time, is far from done, and needs to get back to its roots: small, manageable chunks of innovation that deliver tangible benefits.” He expects more businesses will adopt a more iterative, measured pace to digital initiatives in 2019. It is Bond’s advice therefore that companies look for quick wins that will provide a foundation for developing future initiatives.
  2. Operational efficiency makes a comeback — Bonde expects that CIOs and other financial leaders will be more focused on the bottom-line costs underpinning digital transformation projects. Warning that CIOs will shut down “executive vanity projects,” Bonde points to the “often unwieldy sprawl” of SaaS applications stemming from shadow IT initiatives as a prime target for this scrutiny.
  3. A greater focus on product management — With an increased desire to delight current customers and obtain new ones, Bonde believes there will be a significant uptick in product-focused roles. These individuals will be a critical bridge between IT and customer-centric departments such as sales and marketing.
  4. Embedded AI — Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on many prediction lists for a number of years, but Bonde suggests that business leaders revisit his first prediction when it comes to their AI initiatives and focus on quick wins. Advising digital executives to work with peers in operations and marketing, Bonde says, “2019 is the time to focus on digitizing experiences in the service of customers, using technology and partners to create short-term gains that underpin long-term ambition.”

Of course, these and other digital transformation trends are not possible without a big data analytics foundation in place that empowers employees to create change. In order to realize any of the benefits outlined by Bonde above—or those of other industry analysts—companies first must unlock the innovation potential contained in their information by making making it available and actionable for their employees.