Digital transformation is an organizational process that enhances the effectiveness of systems to take advantage of the efficiency, scalability, and affordability afforded by digital systems. Advanced telecommunications, the migration of applications, systems, and data to the cloud, and machine learning.
While any change to update an outdated system with more efficient interconnected digital tools and platforms is a step towards digital transformation, industry leaders see digital transformation as an intense endeavor that can produce an entirely new business model.
Examples of digital transformation
From physical to virtual materials
Digital transformation of marketing and communications might be the most visible example. Before physical paper materials, mail campaigns, billboards, and brick-and-mortar stores ruled the day, today’s standard is paperless materials, email marketing, social media advertising, and eCommerce stores.
From on-premises to cloud operations
In the last decade, cloud computing benefits have pushed industries and businesses away from on-premises operations. Business-critical resources can now be stored and accessed via the cloud, giving organizations greater flexibility and resources to conduct business. A March 2020 report notes that 90% of global enterprises will rely on a hybrid cloud by 2022.
From staff to AI technical support
The COVID-19 outbreak pushed organizations to adapt. For customer service, conversational AI is changing the way businesses approach serving customers. With reduced customer support staff and more customers looking for answers online, conversational AI can offer everything from personal assistants to highly intelligent and adaptive chatbots that meet clients’ needs.
From manual to self-driving cars
Autonomous vehicles are the talk of the transportation industry as car manufacturers speed towards digital transformation. Vehicles made to collect data, utilize APIs, and safely transport riders without any human interaction are the generation in-waiting. With high demand for these future wheels, companies that fail to adapt will not survive.
Benefits of digital transformation
- Developed and adaptable network infrastructure
- Increased collection and analysis of data
- Reduced costs and higher ROI
- Updated and accurate business model
- Enhanced agility, innovation, and collaboration
- Improved customer strategy and focus
Best practices for digital transformation
The steps organizations take to achieve digital transformation vary based on the organization’s current infrastructure, customers, and people. Best practices for digital transformation include:
- Prioritize the customer journey and experience
- Identify and analyze processes to improve efficiency
- Integrate business-critical data systems
- Mandate data security and privacy standards
- Employ change management to ease the cultural transformation
- Utilize business analytics to craft the business model to customer demand
Digital transformation and Darwinism
Another take on digital transformation connects the concept to Charles Darwin, who said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Similarly, organizations that fail to adapt technologically will succumb to what has been called digital Darwinism.