For DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC), “digital transformation” is more than a catch phrase. The company has made helping clients “thrive on change” its corporate mission.
As senior vice president and chief technology officer at the IT services giant, Dan Hushon is responsible for defining DXC’s long-term strategy and vision. He’s shared that vision in the company’s fourth annual list of the biggest tech trends, which offers a unified theory of digital transformation.
One major trend, Hushon says, is that an increasing number of companies will launch radical, bet-the-business “moonshot” initiatives. That’s because it’s no longer enough to bolt on digital bells and whistles to existing businesses, he says. Companies across sectors will launch new businesses, business models and technologies that are designed from the digital ground up. It’s one of the only ways that established companies that haven’t taken a holistic approach to their digital and business strategy can overcome what Hushon calls the “compounding technical debt.”
Envisioning and completely mapping out plans for a reinvented company are daunting challenges. But more companies are embracing just that kind of radical change, Hushon says. “We now see there are a huge number of businesses who are really focusing on future strategy in a much more integrated and planned way.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to drive change, Hushon says. Whether it’s personal fitness-tracking devices or smart thermostats or the many industrial applications, IoT devices are creating a nonstop flow of data.
The next step in the evolution of this technology involves platforms devoted to harvesting and translating data into improved efficiency. “Imagine a delivery truck racing to make a pickup at a warehouse,” Hushon says. “If the system knows the item for pickup isn’t going to be ready, it can redirect the truck to another job or message it to slow down and save on gas.”
IoT technology is one keystone of what Hushon calls “Intelligent Infrastructure,” which will become more pervasive and effective thanks to developments in machine intelligence and blockchain. Decentralized applications (DApps), which run on distributed networks, will speed this development, Hushon says, as will serverless architectures and microservices — which allow companies to build and run “flow-style” apps through third-party cloud infrastructures. They each make it easier to add new functionalities to lightweight and hyperscale environments.
We're beginning to see information warfare — that the value of information is becoming so high that if I can get the decision fractionally faster than someone else, then I can win.Dan Hushon, SVP and CTO
Taken together, all of those developments add up to more than the sum of their parts, something Hushon calls the Age of Information Enlightenment. The explosion of data and artificial-intelligence technology will move companies closer to the kind of automated analysis that can create new business models and opportunities.
“We're beginning to see that there are very specific tactical areas where you really can begin to deploy high dimensional analytics to improve your thinking,” says Hushon, who led big data strategy at EMC prior to joining DXC. “We now see legal applications that are able to interpret a contract change better than an attorney. We see AI that offers better wealth management advisement services than most money managers. The dimensional optimization enabled by AI is astounding.”
That kind of super-charged data analysis can help companies locate and track potential data privacy issues, limiting the economic impact of new regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Another large-scale shift that DXC predicts is the phasing out of enterprise data centers. Hushon says that more companies are discovering that housing data in a single fixed locale is counterproductive with latency-sensitive competition for clients. And as the efficiency of the cloud increases, it makes the cost of running a data center hard to justify.
“We're beginning to see that the value of information is becoming so high that if I can make the decision fractionally faster than someone else, then I can win,” Hushon says, noting that the closer you are to data, the more analytic intensity you can apply to it. “If I have two different coffee shop apps on my phone and the two coffee shops are next to each other and they both sensed that I'm leaving the subway, the one that messages me an offer first is going to get my business.”
A unified corporate effort to aggregate data and merge it with cutting-edge technology will create new models, which will, in turn, result in new efficiencies and profit centers. But that can only happen if every part of a company is committed to change, Hushon says. “These trends are things the whole company has to move toward in unison to really change in meaningful, successful ways.”