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Top 10 technologies for business transformation

We are in a period in which technologies are at once emerging, resurging and converging. Companies across virtually every sector are positioning themselves to outpace their competition by embracing and implementing innovative, technology-based business models to create differentiated value.

It comes as no surprise that respondents to KPMG’s 2019 Technology Industry Innovation Survey ranked Internet of Things (IoT) as the top driver of business transformation over the next three years. From wearable health monitors to connected homes and cities, everything feels “smart” these days and is interwoven with a myriad of devices and applications. International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts global IoT spending will reach $745 billion this year, and $1.2 trillion in 2022.

A revealing aspect of the survey is that, while the top ten technologies was essentially the same as last year, the order has changed dramatically. Robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain both jumped up significantly in this year’s ranking.

Robotic process automation

RPA comprises the software bots that facilitate the automation of manual and structured activities. It is viewed as an entry point in the spectrum of intelligent automation (IA), which is a broad portfolio of enhanced and cognitive automation applications that also includes machine learning and true artificial intelligence (AI). In offices around the globe, automated software bots are already performing numerous basic tasks and even making decisions that were previously in the domain of humans. RPA complements and augments human skills and boasts the power to exponentially increase the speed, scale, quality, precision and efficiency at which enterprises operate.


Since 2008, blockchain has progressed from being overhyped and disparaged to now firmly in the implementation phase. In fact, worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to reach $11.7 billion in 2022. According to the survey, 41% of technology company leaders expect to implement blockchain technology at their company over the next three years. Similarly, nearly half (48%) believe blockchain will change the way their company does business.

Implementation issues

Almost regardless of the specific technology, industry leaders most frequently cited the bottom line impacts of “improved business efficiencies” or “increased profitability” as the top benefits of adopting transformational technologies. Surprisingly, “increased market share” was only named once and “new revenue streams” was not ranked in the top three for any technology. This implies that business leaders are more focused on taking costs out of their business and are uncertain about how new technologies can transform their business models to grow revenue and market share. This point is reinforced by the fact that “unproven business case” was the top cited challenge with adopting new technologies.

As for other perceived challenges with adopting these technologies, respondents also said they were given pause by “technology complexity.” Another popular concern was “security”, ubiquitous in today’s business world as data or privacy breaches can cause untold reputational and financial harm.

Top 10 technology rankings:

Internet of Things

Robotic process automation

Artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, machine learning


Robotics and automation

Augmented reality

Virtual reality

Social networking, collaboration tech

Biotech, digital health, genetics

On-demand marketplace platforms

You can read KPMG’s full report here.

Anna Scally is Partner, Head of Technology and Media and Fintech Lead at KPMG.

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