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For the last few years, especially in 2018, organizations have been embarking on digital transformation initiatives. Moving into 2019, digital transformation initiatives are not slowing down and will continue to disrupt the customer experience. Business and technology leaders are seeing how AI, IoT, and big data analytics benefit organizations and even individual departments.

Customer experience has been a huge focus recently and this focus on the customer has had a major impact on technology. Customer service, in a traditional sense, is thought of as face-to-face interactions. Now, in our digital landscape, customer service is conducted via technology and a screen. The customer service technological function has to operate impeccably in order to keep an optimal customer service experience intact. Therefore, organizations are utilizing the benefits of AI, IoT, and big data analytics to enhance customer experience.

Ironically, smaller companies have experienced greater luck with digital transformations. Banks, other financial institutions, and larger corporations, have struggled with modernization efforts. However, despite the struggles, larger corporations see and understand the importance digital transformation plays in the customer journey.

One industry that hasn’t fully utilized the power of digital transformation, data, and technology is the airlines industry. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recognized that customers are used to a seamless shopping experience and expect that same level of service with airlines as well.

“Some airlines are moving to digital projects (digital distribution and payment). The airline industry has embarked on a journey to transform the customers’ experience,” said Eric Leopold, IATA Financial and Distribution Services Transformation Director. “Digital retailers have managed to build trust and to raise customers’ expectations for a seamless shopping experience, zero click payment, and real-time information. This means airline customers are expecting airlines to provide the same level of services.”

The IATA anticipates that digital transformation will impact airlines in several ways. Once digital transformation initiatives are successfully rolled out, passengers can expect automated border control systems that read e-passports to allow the processing of more passengers with integrated customs declarations, self check-in, bag drop, immigration, and self-boarding. This kind of automation would lower costs for the industry while simultaneously improving customer experience.

The Cloud Migration Continues

As digital transformation initiatives persist, we are seeing organizations continue to move to the cloud. The cloud offers flexibility and agility that the older legacy systems simply cannot. Additionally, just like the goal of a successful digital transformation, moving to the cloud can reduce IT costs and improve business processes.

Digital transformation and cloud migrations go hand in hand. Both initiatives aim to be better at technology in order to maintain competitiveness. But being better requires being more free. This can be achieved by utilizing the agility, flexibility, and scalability of the cloud and taking advantage of the benefits of AI, IoT, and big data analytics for your digital transformation.

The Impact of AI and Machine Learning

It has already been predicted that AI and machine learning will benefit organizations by reducing costs, boosting efficiency, and performing epic breakthroughs (sounds pretty similar to the goals of successful digital transformations and cloud migrations, huh?).

AI is powered by data which ultimately creates an incredibly customized experience for each individual user. In turn, this kind of experience makes a user’s life easier and seamless.

The need for AI and machine learning is being driven by the enormous potential of cognitive computing AI, and deep learning to completely transform the way enterprises are creating value by rolling out more useful goods and services, by operating exponentially more effectively, and by engaging with their customers and consumers through highly personalized and sensitive recommendation engines. It’ll be exciting to see what 2019 holds when it comes to the transformative impact of AI and machine learning.

Digital Transformation Needs Network Agility

With constant change in applications and infrastructure, demand for network agility is on the rise, but networks and the equipment that drives them them have remained largely unchanged. SD-WANs and similar technologies have introduced some abstraction into site-to-site connectivity, but are often location, hardware, and service-provider specific. The modularity that makes the cloud and microservices so attractive requires a paradigm shift, where network edges are no longer defined by physical locations, but by application endpoints. Enter NetFoundry and application-specific networking (ASN).

netfoundry diagram appwans appwan networking

With application-specific networking, dependency on private circuits, proprietary hardware, and traditional telco solutions is eliminated. Our technology makes it possible to spin up highly secure, performant, app-specific networks at scale through a centralized, web-based console. These “AppWANs” abstract the network in the same way that containers and virtual machines abstract applications from underlying compute infrastructure. There are three key components that make this possible:

1. An administrator uses NetFoundry’s console and APIs to design cloud-native, app-specific networks (AppWANs). AppWANs are programmatically controlled by application contexts and needs. The console and APIs enable the administrator to leverage orchestrators and integrations to enforce their policies, without needing to manage the orchestrator infrastructure itself.

2. Each AppWAN is managed by a NetFoundry orchestrator. Each orchestrator manages private network overlays, enabling the administrator to benefit from NetFoundry’s network fabric, without needing to manage the underlying networks. Orchestrators interact with business and application systems such as IAM, IoT identity, and cloud policies to enable each AppWAN to be programmatically controlled by the app contexts and needs. 

3. NetFoundry’s global network fabric and endpoint software enables secure, reliable networking from anywhere to anywhere. NetFoundry endpoint software connects to the fabric from any Internet connection, extending each AppWAN to the application edge. The software is installed on personal devices, deployed on edges (enterprise, IoT, cloud) as vCPE, and integrated with apps via APIs and SDKs. The software routes each session to the NetFoundry network fabric, and adaptively manages QoE during each session.

Moreover, since digital transformation is a gradual process, NetFoundry gives businesses the ability to meet the needs of the digitally transformed application environment, while interworking with existing networks and systems to continue to serve current needs. As business services are modularized in the transformation, AppWANs can be spun up, segmented, and adjusted in real-time to secure and connect them to the rest of company ecosystem.

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