This post originally appeared on Forbes.com
2019 will be a pivotal year for digital transformation as the decentralized web takes off and businesses explore its innovative potential. Here are six predictions about how the year will shape up as businesses become aware of the opportunity and start to prepare for a new competitive landscape.
1. CIOs will reach a frustration point with digital transformation, learning that digital transformation requests can’t keep up with the pace of technology.
Markets and technologies evolve relentlessly, and it’s challenging for businesses to keep ahead of or even at pace with new technologies. Today, companies are still figuring out how to transform for mobile, not to mention IoT, AI, AR, etc. Meanwhile, the decentralized web is digital transformation on steroids, and most CIOs are not aware or even prepared for what this evolution will mean for their business.
2. If companies don’t have chief innovation officers by the end of 2019, they will struggle to succeed.
While companies know the importance of innovation, they can often fall behind due to the issues and responsibilities that arise on a daily basis. With the commercialization of the decentralized web, a chief innovation officer is no longer a nice thing to have — it’s now a must-have. Companies with this role will be better positioned to leapfrog their competition by having the ability to focus on the business opportunities of the decentralized web.
3. Companies that start exploring the decentralized web will be ahead of the game.
Through my work with Solid, the new decentralized web technology, I see its game-changing transformational potential for enterprises. It is the next evolution of the current web, where the balance of power and potential is restored to all web users and innovators instead of a few dominant players. While this evolution to the decentralized web obviously has enormous value for individual consumers, it also serves as the most pivotal opportunity for business transformation, innovation and competitive advantage. It will empower chief information/innovation officers and IT architects/operators while leveling the playing field for organizations that have built their competitive advantage off the backs of global citizens. This will open the opportunity for new competitors to enter the marketplace and disrupt it without the current inherent disadvantages.
4. Data will become an innovation liability.
While data may be the new oil, it’s also a business burden and a serious distraction. Today’s business rules mandate that you shoulder the responsibility and cost of storing the user data you collect. With this comes the risk of breaches and compliance issues, not to mention the fear of being tainted by association with businesses that are commercializing data, often without the user’s permission or knowledge.
5. CIOs will need to look at data through an innovation lens rather than a privacy lens.
Power will eventually reside with the individual. This creates a radically new landscape in which businesses compete to deliver powerful new kinds of value to data owners, whether B2B or B2C. For businesses whose enterprise data today is mired in silos, the decentralized web will open up new opportunities. Data will become more of an innovation opportunity than a burden and a risk. If customers control and own their data, then what kinds of new interactions and experiences would companies have to create to compete for the continued loyalty of customers, not to mention to attract new ones?
6. Healthcare will be the first industry to reap the benefits of the decentralized web.
Today, hospitals and doctors maintain vast amounts of patient data, which is not only a security risk and storage burden but also a compliance headache. The transfer of data back into the hands of its owner makes it ripe for the healthcare industry. Imagine a world where you are able to manage your entire healthcare history and share the relevant information with each healthcare provider you see? In the decentralized web world, patients keep their health data in their own personal online data stores (PODs), granting access to hospitals, doctors, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, etc. as they determine the need. In this scenario, these businesses no longer have to be concerned about maintaining the systems, costs and resources required to store and secure patient data; rather, they can focus on innovating new and improved models for service delivery or even medical discovery.
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