When it comes to the future of digital transformation, a crystal ball that allows us to see the integration of digital within businesses of all types in the future might be as valuable today as it would have been 10 or 20 years ago - but there are clearly business types and industries that are now ripe for transformation.
Although it may not have seemed like it at the time, the past decade has seen digital transformation happen in what we now recognise as the most obvious of industries.
E-commerce platforms and communication tools have revolutionised the way we spend our money and talk to our friends, but when we consider what the internet was first developed and utilised for, it’s obvious that these industries would be the first to truly embraced and benefited from digital.
Now is the time to consider how and why digital can transform and play pivotal roles in other industries and sectors. While it may seem to consumers that digital is already fully ingrained in their lives, the reality is it’s only going to become more so over the next five to ten years. Perhaps the digital transformation of our lives, in fact, has barely started.
This means that organisations of all sizes and across all industries need to understand that digital transformation isn’t restricted to only those industries where it’s been prevalent to date. It also means they urgently need to consider the opportunities and threats digital will present to their organisation and the sectors.
Here are three examples of industries that could develop hugely over the next few years:
Legal Conveyancing Services
While the site of barristers carrying hefty court papers wrapped in pink ribbon may be rare these days - as the police and legal services industry slowly digitises the process of storing and sharing evidence, digital undoubtedly offers many benefits to the industry.
Routine manual processes - that are often both lengthy and costly - could very easily be redefined. Housing conveyancing and surveying could be completely streamlined and automated, with results recorded and made available digitally - but that is just the start.
The real revolution could begin with something like Google’s innovative Project Tango - which provides developers with the ability to remotely map and model the inside of a property through smartphone data.
It isn’t unthinkable that such technology will to soon incorporate structural tools that could be used to rapidly speed up the home surveying process. Imagine the value to home buyers of a surveying process that is completed digitally in one day, rather than the standard (and often stressful) 6-8 week manual, surveying process.
While many digitally focused companies - such as Aviva’s digital spin off QuoteMeHappy.com - have made the most of e-commerce opportunities and the digital age, the insurance industry in general is yet to truly embrace data analytics, and a full digital customer centric approach.
What will happen in the insurance industry in the coming years could be completely reshaped by new data and customer centric thought leaders such as Google rather than traditional insurance firms themselves.
Geolocation technology could deliver a more bespoke type of car insurance that is tailored more directly to the consumers needs and habits. Such technology could reduce the cost of insurance for vehicles that are parked for longer each day - and therefore less likely to be involved in collisions - for example.
The future is all about more personalised delivery of services, and digital tools that enable these services in a smart, convenient and cost effective way will soon make the linear and arbitrary nature of services like traditional car insurance outdated.
As with many industries, the crossover with e-commerce has already begun the switch to digital in the travel industry with e-tickets, digital guides, better in-flights digital experiences available throughout cross border travel.
But digital tools could revolutionise the we identify ourselves whilst travelling. Given that fingerprint technology has been a staple component of the iPhone for some time now and that digital scanners already exist in many airports, how long will it be before we can utilise a digital version of our passport on our phone?
In theory, it might sound many years away but the technology is already available, consumers are now routinely using mobile to access sensitive information (such as their banking) and crucially many governments are increasingly turning to digital for secure, efficient alternatives to manual processes.
In addition, considerations need to be made not just within industries either, but within digital technology itself. How can proximity and location-based services be better utilised, for example?
For many such considerations, they revolve around the Internet of Things (IoT) and being better connected with everything we own and interact with, whether that’s physically, digitally or a combination of both.
Imagine the simplicity of driving into a petrol station, filling up your car and driving away, knowing that the station has taken payment automatically, based on your car’s registration being linked to your bank account, which itself is linked to your mobile phone.
Similarly, truly digital driving licences could enable authorities to tie us to vehicles and potentially crime much more accurately thanks to smartphone and geolocation technology.
In more happy circumstances, the time is coming when you will able to leave your house in the morning, and once you’ve left a pre-defined boundary around your home, all of your relevant electrics will be turned off and your house alarm turned on without any intervention from you personally. Of course, the process will be repeated in reverse when you’re on your way back home - delivering safer, more efficient homes and a personalised experience.
Ultimately, although I could probably list hundreds of potential digital transformation innovations, it isn’t simply something that is currently happening - it’s something that is always going to happen. It’s an evolution of consumer habits and customer trends. It’s a change in the way we, as people, want to engage and interact with almost everything around us. The companies that understand that soonest in their industry - particularly those less touched by digital so far - will prosper.