We are in a period in which technologies are at once emerging, resurging and converging. Companies across virtually every sector are positioning themselves to outpace their competition by embracing - and implementing - innovative technology-based business models to create differentiated value.
Against this backdrop, respondents to KPMG’s 2019 Technology Industry Innovation Survey again ranked Internet of Things (IoT) as the top driver of business transformation over the next three years.
This result comes as no surprise given how broad and far reaching the category is. From wearable health monitors to connected homes and cities, everything feels “smart” these days and is interwoven with a myriad of devices and applications. IDC forecasts global IoT spending will reach $745 billion this year, and $1.2 trillion in 2022.
A revealing aspect of the 2019 Technology Industry Innovation Survey is that while the universe of top ten technologies was essentially the same as last year, the order changed dramatically. Robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain both jumped up significantly in this year’s ranking.
In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at these two big gainers, as well as the key benefits and challenges our survey respondents perceive in adopting transformational technologies.
Almost regardless of the specific technology, industry leaders most frequently cited the bottom line impacts of “improved business efficiencies” or “increased profitability” as the top benefits of adopting transformational technologies. Surprisingly, “increased market share” was only named once and “new revenue streams” was not ranked in the top three for any technology. This implies that business leaders are more focused on taking costs out of their business and are uncertain about how new technologies can transform their business models to grow revenue and market share. This point is reinforced by the fact that “unproven business case” was the top cited challenge with adopting new technologies.
As for other perceived challenges with adopting these technologies, respondents also said they were given pause by “technology complexity.” Another popular concern was “security” which is ubiquitous in today’s business world as data or privacy breaches can cause untold reputational and financial harm.
The big mover in this year’s survey is RPA, which shot up the top 10 list from #9 a year ago to #2. RPA comprises the software bots that facilitate the automation of manual and structured activities. It is viewed as an entry point in the spectrum of intelligent automation (IA), which is a broad portfolio of enhanced and cognitive automation applications that also includes machine learning and true artificial intelligence (AI). In offices around the globe, automated software bots are already performing numerous basic tasks and even making decisions that were previously in the domain of humans. RPA complements and augments human skills and boasts the power to exponentially increase the speed, scale, quality, precision and efficiency at which enterprises operate.
Since 2008, blockchain has progressed from being overhyped and disparaged to now firmly in the implementation phase. In fact, worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to reach $11.7 billion in 2022.
KPMG survey respondents’ opinion of blockchain correspondingly increased, jumping from #7 to #4 on the top 10 transformative technology list. And as outlined in KPMG’s Blockchain for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Companies report, 41 percent of technology company leaders expect to implement blockchain technology at their company over the next three years. Similarly, nearly half (48 percent) believe blockchain will change the way their company does business over the next three years.