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Top 5 Transformational Trends You Need to Learn to Love in 2018

By Bill Talbot, VP, Solution & Product Marketing, CA Technologies

Bill Talbot, VP, Solution & Product Marketing, CA Technologies

The technology adoption lifecycle curve hasn’t changed, but the impact of where your company sits on it has changed significantly. Innovators or early adopters were once considered to be big risk-takers. Large corporations typically positioned themselves within the majority at the top of the bell curve. The kinks were worked out by the “bleeding edgers” and the technology was stable.

Now the biggest risk is waiting too long. Late adopters tend to become laggards as the technology may already be shifting before they arrive, leaving them multiple steps behind.

The Impact of Digital Transformation

Software development organizations have shifted from developing monolithic applications to using container and micro-services technologies. Speed and flexibility are among the most advantageous factors in this scenario–you can test and run the containers on a variety of platforms your app will run on and, if a micro-service requires changes, it doesn’t impact any other micro-services.

These technologies are better ways to rapidly deliver apps and, since apps are the face of your business, you want all the leverage you can get.

Transformational shifts that are imperatives for 2018

A combination of technology and innovation should be important to deliver a better customer experience in 2018.

"Establishing both persistent and initiative-based teams satisfies both requirements and aligns with agile methodologies."

Security—can’t be an afterthought

Security remains the biggest challenge. As companies get savvier, so do the hackers. Companies must continue to deliver services to their clients at a fast pace, but without compromising on the security measures. Improvement of security involves focusing on passwords/pins, context-based authentication, advanced analytics and thorough identity access protection. Security must be balanced with easy access and fast performance for a frictionless user experience.

According to the “State of Software Security 2017” by security expert Veracode, using third-party software may not always be safe. In fact, security flaws were more prevalent in commercial software than in internally developed code. The report cites that 83 percent of companies admit having released software either without any testing at all or before fixing known security problems.

In order to enhance security for application software, DevSecOps can be a reliable option. While DevOps helped improve the quality and speed of your app development, DevSecOps embeds security into your existing software development workflow, thereby completing assessments and vulnerability remediation at various points throughout the app development process.

Agile –not just for development anymore

Process changes are getting more challenging as IT Operations are dealing with legacy and newer IT systems. Some Ops teams have split off a small group to focus on incorporating new IT systems. This tactic creates a small, agile-savvy Ops staff that can help to eventually expand agile within the entire IT Ops staff.

Marketing is typically a geographically distributed group that may work on short-term projects, such as a customer event to showcase new products, as well as long duration initiatives, such as lifecycle marketing for a product line. Establishing both persistent and initiative-based teams satisfies both requirements and aligns with agile methodologies. Our own experience with agile marketing is proving to be successful for the business and for the engagement and satisfaction of the teams themselves.

Automation—reduces risks and increases velocity

Too often people view automation as a technology that will take over their jobs. What it can take over are the manual, time-consuming and, sometimes, mind-numbing chores that are prone to human error.

For example, an automated release process enables new services to move rapidly and cleanly between test and production, eliminating potential problems caused by a manual hand-off. An automated rollback capability provides a quick resolution to a failed deployment. The result is faster and lower cost delivery of high-quality services.

Automation is not about taking our jobs. Automation frees us to spend time on higher value, more strategic initiatives; it can change the way we work for the better.

Analytics – stop drowning in data, surface the insights

As the app economy advances, the rear-view mirror analytics of the past are less useful. Knowing why something happened won’t bring back the customer who has since gone elsewhere. IT needs predictive and prescriptive analytics to anticipate issues before they occur and react in real-time, prescribing and automating corrective actions.

Advanced, embedded analytics identify anomalies that can undermine your applications’ performance, security, and customer experience.

Risk-based analytics look for subtle anomalies that may indicate fraud and offer automated actions, such as requesting additional authentication or denying the request. Context-based analytics calculate risk and evaluate each transaction against a wide range of historical and behavioral data to determine if this transaction is originating from alocation and a device typically associated with this customer or if this is a typical purchase for this customer.

Advanced analytics also incorporate deep learning that is very effective in sniffing out bots. Today’s sophisticated bots cleverly mimic human behavior but deep learning systems “learn” the bot’s new behavior patterns and how it differs from a real human visit. Learning continues as the bot changes, leveraging previous insights.

It’s hard to imagine how you can effectively compete in today’s app economy without applying advanced analytics.

Customer Experience –what really counts

The relationship with your customer is undergoing its own transformation and it will significantly impact how you do business with them. B2B buyers are becoming much more like B2C buyers. They aren’t interested in lengthy trainings that will help them use your products and services. They want apps that are fast, easy and intuitive to use. Today’s customer has many options, millions of apps to choose from, and scant loyalty.

Everyone knows that a superior customer experience is essential for business success and profitability but what’s less clear is what makes for a positive customer environment.

The two things that stand out in improving the customer experience is commitment from the top and the use of technologies that will streamline customers’ transactions with your business. Commitment from the top is key because it takes resources to make big changes. But, even the most steadfast desire to please the customer won’t help if their digital experience with your business isn’t rewarding. For a winning experience, the enabling technologies must stand behind it.

Embrace speed and change

With the app economy booming, customers will quickly find better performing and more secure apps and service from those early adopters. Don’t wait for these shifts to hit your desk and leave you stunned. Every company can make positive changes.

First, get management commitment. Making these changes can cause disruption to long-standing roles within your business and you will need management backing to keep moving.

Look for self-starters within your business that may have some experience in or interest in digital transformation. Take the first step and create a few agile teams, even if you just start with one or two. The new teams’ experiences can be leveraged to ripple out through the organization. Look for analytics software that can use your customer data to improve security and customer experience and for automation software to speed up mundane tasks and free up your IT Ops staff for more rewarding work.