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By Darren Roos, Chief Executive Officer, IFS

The disruption of the pandemic has brought fresh urgency to business decisions

acing with input from business leaders from a wide variety of industries. Even though some of the topics are not brand new, they have been given a new importance and urgency by the impact of the Cothat will influence how we live and work for years to come.

Businesses must completely rethink how they use digital tools and how they can better help them to approach their customer, employee, and user experience. The 2020s will be defined by the way organisations transform their businesses to address changing circumstances – becoming nimbler and securing their longevity in the process.

Below is a summary of some of the trends and challenges that our customers are fvid-19 pandemic and may provide a new perspective on a brave new decade that, admittedly, got off to a rocky start.

  • Business turns “remote everything” as servitisation comes to the fore (again)

The interest among manufacturers to transform their traditional products into services isn’t a new trend. Industry experts, including those working at IFS, have been exploring servitised business scenarios for many years.

Although its importance wouldn’t have been diminished in a corona-free world, the Covid-19 pandemic has given new urgency to servitisation among decision-makers in the manufacturing sector and elsewhere.

According to research firm Gartner, by 2025, over 50 percent of equipment manufacturers will offer outcome-based service contracts that rely on IoT connectivity, up from less than 15 percent in 2019. Seen in the light of these projections, it is not surprising that the global state of emergency we all entered into last year has driven companies to adopt a “remote everything” mindset, even those far outside of traditional service provision, whose businesses are servitised by design.

  • The composable enterprise make room for new opportunities and nimble business

What I am referring to is the concept of a composable business—what Gartner also calls a composable enterprise.

Rather than buying large and cumbersome sweeps of applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM), human resources (HR), customer relationship management (CRM), etc., a composable business approach is focused on handpicking a portfolio of heterogeneous applications from a palette of best-of-breed solutions. It’s about composing your own set of digital tools that help your business be more agile, move faster, deploy faster, and, most importantly, realise faster time to value to make way for new business models.

Given what is at stake, I predict that the adoption of composable business will be a matter of survival for companies in the early to mid-twenties.

  • Robots will rule the earth

Automation in a business technology context will experience an explosive growth over the coming three to four years.

With progressively sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities comes an increasing capacity to automate processes. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2024, organisations will lower operational costs by 30 percent by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes[2].

This means new business models, new backend processes, and leveraging automation in the form of robotic process automation (RPA) and, of course, AI.

With all of the above underpinned by the ubiquity of mobile, will any business be able to exist outside of this technology? Are all or even most businesses ready for this change?

  • Prepare for the moment when it all comes together

While IoT, AI, RPA and digital transformation are concepts that have been bandied about for a long time, the next phase will be the one where it all needs to coalesce as sensible solutions, delivered out-of-the-box as native and embedded application services.

What will take us to this next phase is a realisation among businesses that the real value lies in the total experience.

Think about the experiences you have had with companies you buy from, and what makes certain ones more special than others. Think about the moment you unboxed your new smartphone, the moment your last flight landed on time, or perhaps the moment you picked up a new car.

They are all different scenarios, but the common denominator is that there’s a point in time when a company needs to bring it all together: when the supply chain works effectively, the choices in materials are paying off, the production process delivering as expected, and, of course, the moment when all aftersales elements need to kick in.

These points in time are the moments of service for customers, and the moments when you are of service to your customers. Given the complexity inherent in their delivery, are businesses properly equipped and capable of delivering those moments? What does success and failure look like in this context, and what distinguishes them from each other?