When we look at history, the Industrial Age – characterized by the Industrial Revolution – is considered a major turning point which changed the way we work and live. The future will be looking at this age the same way – the Information Age characterized by the Digital Revolution. In a relatively short period of time, technology has moved from the back office to the front office and embedded itself into nearly every aspect of people’s business and personal lives, fueled by what IDC defines as the 3rd Platform technologies – mobile, social business, cloud, and big data and analytics. The impact on how businesses function has been profound. The internal operations of today’s businesses need to be tightly linked to the external ecosystem which includes their customers, partners, markets, competitors, and regulators. To enable this, business leaders are embracing a technology-centric business model known as Digital Transformation (DX).
Digital transformation has become ubiquitous in every region and every industry around the world. A global benchmark survey by IDC shows that more than a third of the businesses worldwide are highly matured when it comes to DX, characterized as Digital Transformers and Disruptors. The worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies is expected to be nearly $1.3 trillion in 2018, which is forecasted to nearly double to more than $2.1 trillion in 2021.
At the heart of digital transformation are the 3rd Platform technologies. These technologies — social, mobile, analytics, and cloud, along with several innovation accelerators – are necessary to achieve a company’s digital goals. Innovation accelerators, as defined by IDC, include technologies such as Internet-of-Things (IoT), robotics, 3D printing, cognitive/artificial intelligence, next-generation security, augmented/virtual reality, and blockchain. Worldwide ICT spending data compiled by IDC indicates that spending on 2nd Platform technologies (desktop PCs, printers, scanners, and other elements of client-server computing) will record a CAGR of –1.4% during 2016–2021. In contrast, spending on 3rd Platform technologies is projected to increase by 5.0%, and innovation accelerators by 18.5%, during the same period.
The emergence of these 3rd Platform technologies and innovation accelerators have changed the IT landscape in an organization dramatically. The number of connected devices/things, and the amount of data they generate, have increased spectacularly exponentially. Commercially available computing power and the capabilities of machine learning technology have also risen enormously. These developments have driven demands for improved cybersecurity and applications that enable real-time engagements. The new paradigm is dynamic, decentralized, data driven, automated, and self-learning. However, IDC research has found that many organizations that have launched a DX journey have not yet been able to effectively leverage this new paradigm.
In the Middle East, technology innovation thought leader NXN was among the first to develop a DX platform. NXN’s founding in 2006, then named neXgen, coincides with the emergence of 3rd platform technologies and the region's move towards urban transformation. Since its inception, the company has been providing smart city consulting and advisory services in the region. NXN developed smart/digital masterplans for the leading cities in the region including the city of Dubai, through its long standing work with Smart Dubai Office, as well as for the city of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi among others. In 2015, NXN inked a strategic partnership with Zain Group, a leading telecom operator in the Middle East, to create smart city technology solutions as a service that includes design and integration for applications such as smart living in smart districts, smart safety and security, smart utilities, smart healthcare, and smart education. The company’s clientele grew to include some of the biggest names in the region such as Aldar, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) Kuwait, National Digitization Unit (NDU) Saudi Arabia, Dubai Police, Abu Dhabi Municipality, Government of Dubai, TRA UAE, Riyadh Development Authority, Nakheel, and Emaar, to name a few. The company’s extensive experience and expertise in working with digital transformation leaders in the region lead to the development of the DNX platform and rebranding of the company to NXN, as orchestrator of digital transformation among businesses.