Digital transformation is a topic that has been a hot buzzword in recent years, but this was also the case in the late 1990s and also in the mid-2000s. Over 30 years ago, we initiated computerized procedures and in our companies have already integrated many automated operations.
Then, the Internet digitally connected businesses to their customers via websites. Online systems later evolved to help with customer support.
As the digital aspirations of businesses expanded rapidly, technology departments quickly needed to manage the newest social and web platforms. This encouraged companies to use digital information for their own unique organizational events and experiences. Companies have now recognized that they work in networks linked to consumers, vendors, and other participants.
Businesses also began to link all their functions and devices into these networks to more efficiently leverage the immense volume of data. With this new capacity for collaboration, companies relied on digital platforms to connect all network participants, instead of using the conventional business model through layered systems. Organizations have started trying out different digital approaches, hoping to make better use of data, develop more flexibility, and remain competitive.
Very little has been debated more in business circles than the topic of digital transformation in the last five years. Even searches for “digital transformation courses” have increased +5000%. Understandably, company executives are trying to improve skills and prepare their vast staff to attain changing business goals.
Yet, it was in 2013 when the business world started to define the meaning of digital transformation. Opinion pieces often claimed that it was a “passing phenomenon,” but that it influenced both business practices and networks. It was simply viewed as a response to changing times.
Still, many companies were announcing that they were embarking on various digital transformation projects. They were organized by taking smaller, but more actionable steps, which then affected bigger changes throughout the company.
An effective digital transformation project involves working together in a collaborative community rather than as a standalone pioneer of deploying advancing technologies.
Gartner predicts that our world will be further driven by digital technology. In 2021, Gartner expects the physical, financial, and healthcare worlds to be digitized in such a way that at least one of seven technology empires will be participants in 20% of all our activities. Mobile apps and payments, and digital environments are already part of our daily lives.
Yet, there is just one term that can encompass it all: transition. Digitization ensures we have more choices than we’ve ever had before, however, it includes new thinking and willingness to accept innovation.
All businesses and individuals need to embrace the new paradigm of rapid change in order to secure their place in the evolving digital world.