Of the 29 technologies on this year’s Gartner Hype Cycle, eight are entering the Slope of Enlightenment and climbing toward the Plateau of Productivity.
“This shows that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region is entering an important stage and growing in maturity,” said Santhosh Rao, senior research director at Gartner. “However, technologies fueling digital transformation in the region are taking longer to reach mainstream adoption. Local organizations are cautious about adopting new technologies. At the same time, system integrators are not fully equipped to handle complex digital projects. This is due to a shortage of skills.”
“Of the six technologies, enterprises should focus on blockchain, IoT and digital twins. These are growing rapidly,” Rao added. “Moreover, local organizations know that these technologies will help create competitive differentiation and enhance service delivery.”
Although blockchain technology maintains high visibility, Gartner does not expect blockchain architectures to be suitable for many enterprise activities. Especially if taking account of issues of decentralization, risk and governance. However, startups may continue to seek disruptive opportunities using the original block and chain concept. Gartner recommends that business executives undertake scenario planning accordingly.
“In GCC, blockchain technology has received significant interest from the governments and financial institutions. This is due to the increase in the number of digitalization projects currently underway,” said Santhosh Rao. “Organizations should consider proof-of-concept experimentation. However, they should remain aware that the general public may not readily accept nonintermediated information management and transaction execution models and decentralized governance.”
CIOs considering implementing blockchain technology should use clear language and definitions in internal discussions about the nature of this technology. They should also identify the points of integration with their existing infrastructures (such as digital wallets and core systems of record) to help determine future investment plans.
Internet of Things
IoT has a business transformation and evolutionary impact on most organizations. That’s because it is a key enabler to deliver services and create new business opportunities. IoT projects will impact most organizations’ competitive position, product development strategy and internal operations, as connected things will help generate revenue and lower costs.
“Respondents of our global CIO survey said that 12 percent of their organizations have deployed IoT, and 24 percent are actively experimenting with it. However, businesses in the Middle East face increasing costs, complexity and scaling challenges when they implement IoT solutions. That is, if they actually deliver value,” said Rao. “We place IoT at the Peak of Inflated Expectations. We believe it will take up to 10 years to achieve mainstream adoption by local businesses.”
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a real object. Its purpose is to optimize the operation of assets such as aircraft, power plants and buildings. The primary short-term use is to lower maintenance costs and increase asset uptime. In GCC, Gartner analysts expect oil and gas and manufacturing companies to combine digital twins and IoT solutions for asset performance management and streamlining processes.
“Digital twins enable businesses to optimize or transform their business model. Consequently, they will become the dominant design pattern for solutions in the next decade,” said Rao. “The challenge for organizations will be to change their thinking from a hardware-centric to a hardware-plus-software-centric perspective in order to fully integrate digital twins internally.”
Organizations considering the use of digital twins have a few things to consider. First, they should focus on identifying a portfolio of digital twin initiatives that provide short (within one year) and midrange (within five years) paybacks. Simultaneously, they need to conduct a threat and opportunity analysis of their current business ecosystem, incorporating digital twin developments by competitors or partners.