What’s Digital Transformation ?

One of the buzzword that’s in trend now is “Digital Transformation”. Google trend shows that the interest is steadily increasing and is almost at its peak. For every professional involved in digital technologies, it is important to understand what it means to the business.

In the last 30 years, the digital technologies had gone through massive innovation explosion resulting in making it accessible to every individual.

Lets look at few massive disruptive technologies that are consistently changing the world,

  1. It takes just one second to transfer a data through Internet today, (assuming that speed is 30mbps) which used to take 27 hours 30 years ago.
  2. Any $100 smart phone today is at least 100 times more powerful than Apollo 11 computer used by first moon mission at NASA
  3. Cloud is helping you to rent computing power as high as super computer to as low as simple desktop computer without owning even single computer.
  4. Social Media user are almost 50% of the total population, thus making it easy for any business to reach out.
  5. Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence is evolving and slowly replacing many repetitive jobs

As per Moore’s law the computing power is getting doubled every 2 years. It means that you can buy same computing power at half price within 2 years from now. This opens up immense opportunities for every business to transform the way they conduct their business.

There are plenty of examples to prove that even market leaders that failed to adopt disruptive innovations eventually went out of business.

  • Kodak – A company once considered holding 90% of the Analog photography market share is now out of business.
  • Once a market leader, Sony Walkman went out of business after iPod becamse extremely successful.
  • e-Commerce : When Amazon started selling books online, nobody anticipated that it will become largest retailer in the world. It’s another story when a online retailer of goods became largest retailer of computing & data storage as well.
  • Millions of print marketing agencies were made redundant by digital marketing companies like Google & Facebook.
  • Hotel industry is being disrupted by marketplaces like Airbnb
  • Taxi business is made extremely efficient and competitive with entry of taxi aggregators like Uber, Ola, Lyft, Kareem, Grab etc.
  • SMSes are replaced with Whatsapp, Viber, Telegram messages, making your telecom provider more of an Internet provider than a Text & Voice service provider.

It’s just few example to impress upon the power of digital technologies to create disruptions in any Industry.

When we think of transformation, it is easy to assume that implementing a software that’s using latest technology is a transformation, it’s not. Typically we can classify any IT implementation project is executed to achieve one of the objectives below

  • Productivity Enhancement : The objective of these projects are to increase the output with same Input or less Input. For example, Upgrading to new version of old software that reduces no of data entries required, no of clicks required to complete a transaction, Automating the Integration touch points etc. Outcome of these projects are measurable, It is possible to calculate Return on the Investment.
  • Business Development : These projects are Implemented to increase the business volume and support growth in business. For example : Adding More computing power to handle more users, Rolling out current modules to new branches, extending internal applications to other stakeholders like Vendors and Customers etc. Outcomes of these projects are also measurable but sometimes return on investment may not be easy to calculate.
  • Change the Business: While the first 2 objectives are considered routine software implementations, Changing the way business is done is considered real transformation. It involves – Changes to Business Process, Changes to stake holders Involvement (Customers, Vendors, Employees,.), Elimination of Redundant roles, Adding value added steps to business processes etc. Some of the examples are below, Outcomes of Digital Transformation projects are not easily measurable, it’s more of disruption to current way of doing things and preparing yourself for future.
  1. Change in Hiring Process to Source profiles from Social Media, Evaluate Candidates using Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Identify Flight Risks etc
  2. Enable Employees to work from anywhere using applications that are hosted on cloud
  3. Deliver Analytics to executives on their mobile phones and tablets.

I would strongly encourage you to start thinking in terms of how digital technologies can transform your business.