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Straight Talk Technology

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Ovum has recently completed the research for its 2018/19 ICT Enterprise Insights program. Based on interviews with senior IT executives in over 6,500 enterprises worldwide, the program explores ICT investment plans and priorities for the coming year. For the last few programs, Ovum has focused on digital transformation, looking at how enterprises are using technology to change business models, processes, and platforms to deal with the demands of the digitally connected world.

Ovum's recent findings show that overall progress in digital transformation has developed significantly over 2018. Across nine key business initiatives for driving digital transformation (e.g., creating a digital culture, having a defined digital strategy, or having a digital workplace strategy for staff), last year only 8% of enterprises graded themselves as "complete" on average across these initiatives, with a further 16% considering their institutions "well advanced."

This year, 13% of enterprises described their digital transformation as "complete," with 27% describing it as "well advanced." Reflecting this trend, the proportion of enterprises whose digital transformation was at least "in progress" shifted from just over half last year to 71% in 2018, while the percentage of enterprises describing their digital transformation as "not started" fell from 14% to 7%, with those at "early stages" falling from 23% to 18%. Although enterprises whose digital transformation is "in progress" remain the largest group overall, most enterprises believe they have made progress in 2018, and Ovum expects that this will continue into 2019 now that digital transformation has become a mainstream strategy.

As part of its focus on digital transformation, ICT Enterprise Insights explores the maturity in adoption of key enabling technologies for digital transformation. These include cloud-native architecture, APIs, IoT, blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and agile/DevOps. In terms of actual deployment, big data is currently the most advanced of these technologies, with 23% of enterprises having active operational deployments; however, the greatest overall shift in focus has been seen with AI. The proportion of enterprises with active interest in AI initiatives (i.e., planning, trialing, or deploying) shifted from 62% last year to 77% this year. Agile/DevOps, big data, and APIs also saw significant positive changes in active interest, as did blockchain (albeit from a lower starting base).

Although AI has emerged as a key technology area for many enterprises for driving digital transformation, it should be noted that actual deployment remains low: only 16% have active deployments. There is still a considerable gap between interest and actual usage.

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