Illustration of a clock showing the passing of time
It's time: IDC thinks digital transformation is accelerating and reshaping the global economy. PHOTO: Jonny Lindner

Still think your enterprise has time to drag its feet on digital transformation? Well, frankly, it doesn't.

At the risk of increasing collective anxiety among senior leaders and change agents everywhere, let's just cut to the chase.

"Every (growing) enterprise, regardless of age or industry, must become 'digital native' in the way its executives and employees think, what they produce, and how they operate."

IDC Industry Predictions for 2017

That's the bottom line from Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corporation (IDC) today in its worldwide information technology (IT) industry predictions for 2017 and beyond.

"We are at an inflection point as digital transformation efforts shift from 'project' or 'initiative' status to strategic business imperative," Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC noted in a statement.

For nearly a decade, IDC has been monitoring the dawn of the Third Platform, built on cloud, mobile, big data/analytics and social technologies. In the past few years, adoption of these technologies has accelerated.

Understanding Digital Experience

They've acted as a catalyst for digital transformation across businesses of all sizes — a development of such magnitude that it spurred CMSWire to create an annual conference focused solely on strategies and technologies related to digital experience (DX).

A year after the inaugural DX Summit, CMSWire will hold its second annual digital experience conference. The three-day event kicks off Nov. 14 at the Raddison Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago.

With an actionable agenda of thought-leadership and practical use of technologies, the conference will bring together dozens of industry experts to talk about exactly the issues IDC raised in its forecast today. Their insights will better position perceptive businesses for what IDC predicts to be the start of a period of rapid change.

IDC predicts digital transformation will attain macroeconomic scale over the next three to four years, changing the way enterprises operate and reshaping the global economy — ushering in what it calls the era of the "DX Economy."

Top 10 Worldwide IT Predictions

So what exactly does IDC expect to happen? Here's a brief look at its top 10 worldwide IT industry predictions.

  1. By 2020 — for 50 percent of the Global 2000 — success will hinge on the ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services and experiences. Worldwide investment in DX initiatives will reach $2.2 trillion in 2019, almost 60 percent more than in 2016.
  2. By 2019, Third Platform technologies and services will drive nearly 75 percent of IT spending. They will grow at twice the rate of the total IT market, fueled by evolution of the Third Platform's core technologies as well as the rapid adoption of technologies such as cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) systems, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and next-generation security.
  3. By 2020, 67 percent of all enterprise IT infrastructure and software spending will be for cloud-based offerings — replacing today's "cloud-first" strategy with "cloud-only" strategies.
  4. By 2019, 40 percent of all digital transformation initiatives — and 100 percent of all effective internet of Things efforts — will be supported by cognitive and AI capabilities. The flood of data that comes from IoT devices and DX initiatives have limited value without AI technologies that are capable of finding valuable insights in the data.
  5. In 2017, 30 percent of consumer-facing Global 2000 companies will experiment with AR/VR as part of their marketing efforts. IDC expects AR/VR to reach mass adoption levels by 2021, when more than a billion people worldwide will regularly access apps, content and data through an AR/VR platform.
  6. By 2018, the number of Industry Collaborative Clouds (ICCs) — cloud-based platforms through which multiple companies in an industry collaborate in some fashion toward a common goal — will triple to more than 450. By 2020, more than 80 percent of the Global 500 will be digital services suppliers through ICCs.
  7. By the end of 2017, more than 70 percent of the Global 500 will have dedicated digital transformation/innovation teams. This will set the stage for a dramatic increase in enterprises' ability to monetize the value of software through "things" and services.
  8. By 2020, more than 70 percent of cloud services providers' revenues will be mediated by channel partners/brokers. By 2018, IDC expects major channel partners to have transitioned at least one third of their business from hardware sales to cloud services sales/brokering.
  9. By 2020, all enterprises' performance will be measured by a demanding new set of DX-driven benchmarks, requiring 20 percent to 100 percent or better business performance. Competing and thriving in the DX economy means that every enterprise, in effect, must think and operate like a digital native organization.
  10. By 2020, one third of health/life sciences and consumer product companies will begin to develop the first wave of products and services tightly integrating Third Platform technologies with the human body. The next four years are the "proto" period where we’ll see proof of concept/prototype offerings, and the first Amazons, Googles and Facebooks of the next era are likely to emerge.