What is Digital Transformation?
If you have been casually scrolling through LinkedIn, you would have seen the latest buzzword in vogue: Digital Transformation. You may have also noticed that different companies on your feed have used the word in completely different contexts and meanings. Sometimes you see a company using the term to refer to a digital revamp of customer services, other times it’s used to refer to the automation of tasks and processes, or the expansion of insights via the use of artificial intelligence to analyse big data sets. Can digital transformation possibly be all of these things?
Yes, it can, and it is all of these things. Digital transformation is a catch-all term that generally describes the strategic adoption and integration of digital technologies for your business. In many cases, it’s not simply about adopting digital technology as a mere tool to eke out more efficiency from your current business processes. As the name suggests, the integration of digital technology into your business can be transformative for your business and opens completely new avenues and opportunities for value creation and income generation.
What might this look like? Let’s look at some examples.
Our entire profession at OpenMinds came about by adopting and integrating digital technologies into marketing, and these technologies have wholly transformed the profession over the past few decades.
Traditionally, marketing communicated values and sales pitches in one-way formats (think newspaper and magazine ads, TV ads, and so on), where the communicated message is broadcasted to the masses without much precision or interactivity.
The advent of digital technologies such as tracking software, online advertising platforms, social media, and email, have transformed marketing into a profession where interactive and personalised marketing has taken over one-way, generalized marketing messages. Marketing funnels are now complex, with abundant re-marketing opportunities due to advanced tracking tools tracking each potential user browsing your website, each person opening up your email (or not), and every individual that has interacted with your ads. All of these technologies have contributed towards the transformation of marketing from businesses talking TO their target audience to businesses starting conversations WITH their target audience.
Blockchain and Banking, Healthcare, Etc.
In any industry where trust and integrity of information security are of paramount concern, verifying the exchange of and safeguarding of data have traditionally been done by a third party. Businesses that provide such services include banks, where they serve as intermediaries to verify transactions between two parties. Having a decentralized ledger that is transparent, accessible, and cannot be easily altered threatens to disrupt the current landscape by making these intermediaries obsolete. Banks and other firms are now investing large sums of money into fintech/blockchain solutions to ensure that their offerings stay competitive.
Outside of finance, blockchain technology also stands to transform other industries like logistics and supply chain management, as well as industries that don’t come across as “techy”, such as healthcare. To learn more about how blockchain technology stands to transform the healthcare industry, please read our two-part article series on our sister site, Block Effect, on the topic: Blockchain and How It Changes Healthcare Data Silos, Blockchain and How It Changes The Healthcare Supply Chain.
Are you looking to incorporate digital transformation into your business?
While the world doesn’t stand still for anyone, engaging in digital transformation is not as simple as adding new technologies to your existing processes. A recent finding published in Forbes found that 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail to meet their goals. An article published in the Harvard Business Review outlined a few key reasons why this might be the case, one of which was that investments need to be made with a sound business solid strategy in mind. Adding new technologies for the sake of adding them will add little value to your business, and incorporating these technologies must be deliberated upon by core members of your company before making that investment, otherwise, the tech might not be adopted or there might not be room for it in your current business processes.
Any transformative act will, if done well, propel you to higher heights. How are you going to incorporate digital technologies to keep your business competitive?