Regardless of the size or sector of your organization, it is safe to say that our working lives are significantly different than they were ten, twenty, and certainly thirty years ago.
Why? Overwhelmingly, it is Digital Technology.
Everything from the rise of social media in the corporate world to game-changing innovations like the Internet of Things (“IoT”) and augmented reality already have, and certainly will continue to impact our working lives and the products offered to customers. While we may have an intuitive sense of the power of digital transformation at work, it is worth taking a step back to further explore digital transformation and analyze how it has impacted our society as a whole. By doing so, we can not only better leverage these digital technologies in our careers, but we can further appreciate how these technologies are making our world a better place.
Digital Transformation: The Basics
To start, it is helpful to first settle on a basic definition of digital transformation. Essentially, it can be defined as using digital technologies to make a process more efficient or effective. Rather than using some technology to simply copy an existing service in digital form, the essence of digital transformation is using these technologies to make something significantly better.
An example is helpful here. Before the rise of disruptive technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence, producing, gathering and shipping items from a factory to a customer was a long and laborious process. While things like the assembly line certainly helped increase the efficiency of these factories, human demands and human error left even more efficiencies on the table. But that said, digital transformation has significantly improved manufacturing processes. You simply need to look at Amazon and its hyper-efficient fulfillment centers to see how robotics, Big Data, and artificial intelligence make life easier for fulfillment center employees and quicker deliveries for customers.
Ultimately, digital transformation is at the core of what makes startups great. They leverage disruptive technologies to level the playing field versus their larger rivals and competitors. But on the opposite side, incumbents and large companies can use digital transformation to better compete with scrappy upstarts with significant traction.
3 Megatrends on Our Society
Digital transformation is a sheer force in the business world. Ultimately, there is no turning back. Within my next articles we will cover all disruptive megatrends, today, we start examining 3 closer.
First is IoT technology. By connecting “dumb” devices to the internet, IoT technology promises to increasingly merge both the physical and digital worlds. While most experts were initially excited about IoT technology creating efficiencies in the manufacturing space, IoT is being used in all different types of business. One of the most significant benefits is that businesses can obtain more data about their operations and products, and use those insights to create better experiences for employees and customers.
Beyond IoT, there is Cloud Computing. Cloud computing technology has been around for some years now, but new advances have empowered both startups and incumbent organizations. For instance, Microsoft Azure has become a juggernaut, helping small startups scale by offering pay-as-you-go cloud computing services. Along with this, software vendors are increasingly offering services over the internet instead of standalone products, which creates a better ( and cheaper ) experience for customers. Cloud computing is so significant that Gartner projects global spending on cloud services will reach up to $260 billion this year.
Finally, there is Augmented Reality. Augmented reality devices can make workers more efficient because of its awareness of the spatial configuration of an environment. As just one example, assembly guidance is one of the most common applications of industrial augmented reality. It can also be used to provide maintenance and service technicians with detailed workflows to more efficiently complete their work. Ultimately, the ability to provide a technological layer over the real world unlocks countless opportunities to be more efficient and productive in the workplace.
An Extremely Exciting Future
Wherever you work, it is important to pay attention to digital transformation in your professional and personal live. There is always another exciting disruptive technology around the corner. By analyzing the technologies and considering the possibilities to create better outcomes for both employees and customers, you will be well on your way to leveraging digital transformation to your advantage.
More to come!