AI, data monetisation and blockchain are set to be among the tech trends to impact the Australian ICT industry and drive digital transformation in 2018 and beyond, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The company has released IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2018 Predictions – Australia Implications, detailing the role of digital disruption for Australian businesses.

The report reveals that the accelerated pace of digital transformation is leaving many behind.

Pressure to continually transform and change while also increasing the speed of operations is causing many to “struggle under a forest of silos”, resulting in innovations stagnating.

Senior Research Manager at IDC Australia, Sabharinath Bala said companies must now ensure digital transformation is amongst their top priorities to survive.

“The digitalisation phenomenon will continue to push DX [digital transformation] as the top priority for IT executives, as innovation through DX is permanently reshaping the future of Australian organisations,” he said.

“The pace at which organisations generate digitally enhanced products and services will amplify their reach in the market and be key to their success.”

More specifically, business units are set to lead the transformation of organisations, currently holding 46% of ICT budgets in Australia with the number to rise.

IDC explains this is due to the fact, “business unit heads and their staff are typically at the forefront of the organisation, either serving customers or collaborating with ecosystem partners.”

The sense of urgency that now surrounds digital transformation is expected to trigger a ‘tipping point’, with IDC predicting that by 2021 at least 60% of Australia’s GDP will be digitised.

Further to this, digital transformation platforms are set to become embedded within Australia’s leading companies, with a prediction that 50% of AU500 companies will have a fully articulated and organisational wide platform strategy by 2020.

As well as transforming entire organisations, emerging technologies are changing the way businesses and consumers interact.

"Cognitive advances, combined with robotics and AR/VR, are now actively impacting experiential engagement, business and manufacturing processes, and strategies,” Bala said.

“Intelligent applications based on cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and continual deep learning are the next wave of technology transforming how consumers and enterprises work, learn, and play.”

Communication between humans and AI is expected to boom, with over 65% of consumers expected to interact with customer support bots, and 85% of commercial enterprise apps to use AI by 2021.

The monetisation of data will also continue to broaden in the coming years.

Although only 35% of Australian enterprises currently use the sale of raw data, derived metrics and insights to generate revenue, this number could reach 80% by 2020.

Similarly, blockchain services will transform the operations of organisations, particularly ASX-listed companies.

IDC states, “by 2021, at least 25% of ASX organisations will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale.”