Industry Markets and Trends

Digital Disruptors: Unleashing the Top 5 Trends for 2024

Digital-native businesses are poised to become digital pioneers. Here are top 5 trends that will shape their transformative impact.
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The next wave of industrial revolution is here, and it’s being propelled by a brand of businesses that are native to the digital world. Digital-native businesses, or DNBs, are enterprises built from the ground up on digital technologies like cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Unlike traditional companies trying to retrofit new technologies, DNBs have disruption codified into their organizational DNA.

As entities born into the era of ubiquitous connectivity and rapid technological progress, DNBs are unshackled from legacy constraints. They can be bolder in adopting cutting-edge innovations to gain a competitive edge. This first-mover advantage allows DNBs to continuously reinvent industries and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

As we progress into the second quarter of 2024, DNBs are poised to accelerate their trajectory as digital pioneers. Here are the top 5 trends that will shape their transformative impact.

Generative AI Becomes Their Killer App

By 2025, research indicates that DNBs will invest in generative AI (GenAI) technologies like ChatGPT at a blistering pace – 5 times higher than traditional businesses. This isn’t surprising given how generative AI perfectly complements the data-driven, innovative core of DNBs.

From automating back-office workflows to enriching customer touchpoints with conversational interfaces, DNBs will embrace generative AI across every facet of their operations. Their ambitions will be turbocharged by the fact that many prominent generative AI players like Anthropic and OpenAI are themselves DNBs pioneering novel use cases.

As of early 2024, nearly $50 billion has already been poured into generative AI startups and scale-ups (source: PitchBook, January 2024). With their laser focus on disruptive technologies, DNBs are at the forefront of creating world-changing generative AI solutions and applications that will redefine how businesses operate.

Data As The Fuel For Growth

In this AI-powered era, data is not just the new oil – it’s the renewable fuel propelling innovation for DNBs. By 2026, these digital tenacities will spend over a third of their cash burn on technologies like robust data architecture and platforms to integrate generative AI models with their proprietary data sources.

Why the heavy investment? Because how well a DNB can generate value from generative AI directly ties back to how strategically it leverages its own and third-party data reserves. From reducing costs to fortifying data privacy and knowledge security through AI, superior data capabilities will dictate which DNBs gain an unassailable competitive advantage.

While DNBs currently lead traditional companies in data investments and access to collaborative data platforms, the deluge of diverse data streams is an emerging challenge. Cracking the code on unifying and extracting insights from these disparate data sources will be key to unlocking the full potential of their generative AI exploits.

Rise Of The Automated, Augmented Workforce

The frenetic pace of innovation also brings with it an acute shortage of skilled technical talent for emerging roles like AI prompt engineers and data scientists. By 2025, over 70% of DNBs will lean on a powerful two-pronged approach to plug these workforce gaps:

  • Intelligent Automation: By harmonizing artificial intelligence with robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent automation will allow DNBs to automate repetitive manual tasks while deploying generative AI to handle sophisticated, judgment-based work. This duet of technologies will be instrumental in alleviating the talent crunch across roles.
  • Enhancing the Human Element: While leveraging advanced automation, DNBs won’t lose sight of the human factor. They will double down on investments in employee experiences – from fostering engaged cultures to pioneering flexible work models. Proven to invest twice as much as traditional firms in this area, DNBs understand an outstanding employee value proposition is vital for attracting and retaining top talent.

Generative AI’s omnipresent role in the workplace may have rocked certain industries, but the tech-first DNA of DNBs positions them to be relatively insulated from workforce displacement fears. Instead, they are poised to be catalysts in reskilling and upskilling their existing employees to adapt to the demands of an AI-augmented future of work.

Delivering Superlative Customer Journeys

In the hyper-competitive digital economy, customer experience (CX) is the universal currency. Recognizing this, over 50% of DNB scale-ups will heavily prioritize CX and personalization as key battlegrounds in 2024. 27% of DNBs plan to directly invest in dedicated CX initiatives and projects.

GenAI will be their loyal lieutenant in this campaign. From deploying AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to reduce support costs to leveraging predictive analytics to hyper-personalize products and services – DNBs will pull out all the stops to curate unparalleled customer journeys. The ultimate goal? To foster a deep, emotive connection with users that inspires rabid brand loyalty and long-term value creation.

Underpinning this CX supremacy is the recognition from venture capitalists that DNBs harnessing generative AI for superlative customer engagement are hugely attractive investment propositions. As the catalysts of the modern consumer economy, DNBs have an acute understanding that individualization at scale is no longer a luxury, but an existential imperative.

Pioneers Of The New World Of Work

By 2026, a remarkable 85% of new job roles across emerging tech disciplines like quantum computing, autonomous transportation, augmented reality and blockchain will be birthed by DNBs. This prophecy is rooted in the fundamental truth that these companies are natively wired to constantly reimagine the art of the possible.

Their propensity for deep tech R&D, coupled with their appeal to Gen Z and Gen Alpha technophiles, positions DNBs as the ideal launchpads for redefining the future workforce. Fields like robotics, ethical AI governance, nanotechnology, and virtual production are just a few examples of novel vocations these companies will spearhead.

In tandem with universities that cultivate breakthrough innovations, DNBs are the conduits translating theoretical possibilities into commercialized products and services that transform industries. In their quest to remain hyper-relevant and future-proof their operations, DNBs will constantly shed old job archetypes in favor of emergent roles adept at harnessing new technology frontiers.

Embracing Change As A Constant 

From leveraging generative AI as an upheaval catalyst to architecting novel workforce paradigms, digital-native businesses are hard-coded for metamorphosis. Their superpower lies in their ability to be nimble and quickly adapt to disruptive technological shifts in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world.

While companies anchored in 20th-century operating models scramble to evolve, DNBs are unencumbered by legacy frameworks or archaic mindsets. They can freely re-imagine industries from first principles and rapidly pivot to capture opportunities in dynamic, technology-fueled environments. 

So as we hurtle into a future where human-machine partnerships become the norm and AI co-pilots uplift every experience, DNBs are poised to be our extraordinary guides. By relentlessly staying ahead of the innovation curve, these digital leaders will open new realms that enhance how we work, engage, and fundamentally live as a society.

Disruption is no longer an existential risk, but an existential imperative for businesses. Digital-native enterprises are living, thriving case studies in how boldly embracing change is the only sustainable path to creating long-term value. The trends of 2024 are merely airbrushing the beginning of their transformational legacy.

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,200 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives.