Digital transformation is one of those words you would have heard thrown around by technology evangelists and futurists at conferences lately. It may have become a bit of a buzzword but it is an important concept for businesses, across all industries.
What does digital transformation actually mean?
In simple terms, digital transformation is the use of new digital technology to solve or improve operations within the business. It involves transforming traditionally non-digital or manual processes to digital.
Digital transformation has often been described as the fourth industrial age. The first revolution allowed humans to mechanise production with steam power, followed by the second revolution, which was enabled by electricity and brought on the era of mass production. The third revolution used electronics and information technology.0
The speed of current breakthroughs and the exponential pace of disruptive innovation now bring about a fourth industrial revolution, characterised by unprecedented processing power, storage, access to knowledge and the blurring of lines between physical, digital, and biological space.
Why should you consider digital transformation?
Technological change is happening all around us and influencing our lives both as individuals and as businesses. With the ever-increasing choice of different software and applications to achieve different things, it can often seem overwhelming and sometimes impossible to select the right technology.
Even though it can seem a momentous task, it is increasingly being seen as a necessary one with a 2020 Gartner survey finding that 91% of organisations are engaged in some form of digital intuitive.
Digital transformation can help improve customer and employee experiences, increase the responsiveness of your business through optimised operations and create innovative products and services.
How businesses transform
What digital transformation looks like is different across every business. Some choose to go all in and completely overhaul their operations and shift their business strategy to a digital model. More often, businesses take smaller but equally impactful steps towards digital transformation. Focusing at first on the most pressing areas or on a line of business that is ripe for digitisation.
These digital journeys can arise in many different ways, they may be the next step in a business’s strategic vision, or they may have come about from a critical need to accelerate change.
Digital Transformation is not always easy, or painless. The change required to adopt these transformations requires hard decisions, cultural shifts, an innovation mindset, and a willingness to manage risk and uncertainty more proactively. For those that stay the course, these changes can result in opportunities that previously weren’t available to the business.