Digital transformation is a phenomenon in which our society is moving into and from which it is impossible to go back. What does digital transformation mean, exactly? And what are the opportunities it offers?
Let’s find this out.
Digital transformation: definition and characteristics
The technological innovations, the connection to the global network and the digitisation of society have profoundly changed every aspect of human reality, including the economic aspect.
This change is still taking place and has been defined digital transformation. This term is mostly referred to business and to the whole universe that revolves around it, but it can be understood in a broader sense as a cultural change that affects all aspects of society.
Companies had to change their organisational processes in order to adapt to a series of technological changes that are now inevitable.
The innovations brought by digital transformation force those who are overwhelmed from these changes to adapt and to rely on the potential of technology. The price to pay if one wants to resist is to fall behind and be excluded from the changes that are taking place.
However, there are also mechanisms that exclude those who want to actively participate in digital transformation. These mechanisms are linked to what has been defined digital divide and is a phenomenon that affects the ability to materially access digital technologies.
Reducing the digital divide is a key goal that the governments of every country should try to achieve in order to give to everyone the opportunity to participate in digital change and avoid the risk to be excluded.
Which are the areas of action of digital transformation?
Digital transformation certainly opens up challenging scenarios, but taking full advantage of digital technological innovations allows to achieve great results. The aim of technology is in fact that to improve the life of the individual, making everyday tasks easier to perform.
From this point of view, it is easy to come to the conclusion that digital transformation puts people at the center of everything.
Moreover, although the evolution of digital technologies is continuous and unrelenting, some that play a predominant role in this process can be identified.
Big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are the technologies related to digital transformation.
When talking about big data we refer not only to the large volume of informative data collected through digital technologies, but also to the processes needed to collect, manage and analyse them.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, refers to that set of technologies that allow data to be stored on the Internet. With these assumptions and thanks to the ability to create connections and achieve a measurable reality in every aspect, it is easy to guess how this has brought to the concept that data is the new oil. The data economy and the centrality of the individual are in fact two main aspects on which these technologies and their uses depend.
Thanks to artificial intelligence and learning algorithms, it is also possible to build complex mathematical models that allow to predict and analyse data in different fields. For example, in business, finance and industry, the algorithms that drive artificial intelligence allow to accurately optimise and manage the customer experience, the production processes and the supply chain. Several applications of artificial intelligence are also possible for healthcare: it enables faster diagnosis and better management of patient care. These are just a few examples, but the fields of application of artificial intelligence and the benefits that come with it are potentially endless.
The skills needed to face the digital transformation
Such a profound transformation occurs in different ways depending on the social, economic and political contexts. Generally speaking, it can be said that, in order to deal with the digital changes that are taking place and to keep up with the increasingly frequent innovations in the technological field, it is necessary to be able to master a winning set of skills that allow to face digital transformation in order to welcome it or even accelerate it.
In a world that seems increasingly governed by technology, the most requested skills by the companies that want to maintain their high level of competitiveness are the most human skills, those that a machine cannot replace.
Within companies, and not only, those that have been called digital skills or “21st century skills” are very valuable, and include:
These skills are increasingly required in the labour market and are fundamental to addressing the ever-new challenges that the digital transformation offers.
Innovation is a priority, but not all companies always have the right organisational structures to carry it forward. According to the research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, the 44% of companies cannot find employees who have the skills that allow to meet the challenges of digital transformation.
It is easy to understand how investing in the aforementioned skills and enhancing the talents that are already present within the given organisation is fundamental to bring two distant worlds a little closer: the world of innovation ideas and the world of their implementation.
Why do companies need digital transformation?
To achieve such a profound transformation, is important to build a strategy that takes into account strengths, limitations, possibilities and threats that the adoption of these practices can bring to your company.
It is important to note that digitising the business processes makes all the related processes easier and measurable, bringing several benefits to the organisation, such as:
Unless being born as a digital native company, adapting the business to the changes that are taking place and keeping up with technological innovations is essential to not fall behind or be excluded.