Digital transformation (also known as DX) is one of those popular, perennial buzz phrases that is frequently bandied about but all too often evades a basic definition. We, therefore, thought it might be useful to take a fresh new look at what it really means, why it matters, and how, if anything, it has accelerated in importance during the coronavirus crisis.
So, what is digital transformation?
At the risk of stating the obvious, let’s start with a basic definition of digital transformation, to blow the cobwebs off this general terminology. It could be described as the process of adopting digital technology to transform a business, either by replacing manual practices, or old, outdated technology. This can enable an organisation to revolutionise the way it works, empower its employees to become more efficient and effective, and offer a much better service to its customers.
It may sometimes be falsely perceived as something a business does as a one-off, done-and-dusted activity, which when accomplished can be ticked off the to-do list. However, in reality, digital transformation is more like an ongoing strategy which is never truly over – in the same way as innovation never really ends. With technology constantly evolving, in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and the Internet of things (IoT), there will always be opportunities to improve on existing practices and move your business forward.
Why does it matter?
Digital transformation has become essential in the modern business world, at a fundamental level, to compete and survive, and also, by keeping up with transformational technology, to thrive. In fact, it is vital across the whole range of industries, and departments within companies, to achieve business growth. For example, digital transformation is increasingly important to ensure that companies can deliver the kind of excellent customer experiences that consumers now demand. This can be achieved by switching to cloud-based contact centre technology that enables users to work equally effectively wherever they are based, and provide seamless, omnichannel customer service to exceed the expectations of clients. In addition, employee engagement and efficiency can also be boosted throughout a company by implementing unified communication and collaboration tools, enabling users to work easily and securely anywhere, anytime, on any device. Indeed, this has never been more pertinent than during the pandemic, when businesses have had to adapt, like never before, to widespread remote working and rapidly reshape their working practices to ride out the storm.
Not just a ‘nice-to-have’ but a necessity
In fact, although you might be forgiven for thinking that digital transformation could have slipped down the priority list for businesses during the pandemic, when budgets may be tight, you couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, it has accelerated in importance in the last year, as, according to a recent study by PwC, while 52% of companies plan to cut or defer investments as a result of the pandemic, only 9% will make such cuts in digital transformation. Indeed, according to the CIO Pandemic Business Impact Survey, 2020, conducted by IDG, 59% of respondents agreed that the pandemic was accelerating their digital transformation efforts. Furthermore, according to research by IDC, despite the many challenges caused by the coronavirus crisis, global spending on digital transformation technologies and services is forecasted to increase by 10.4% in 2020 to $1.3 trillion. Businesses are therefore clearly recognising the importance of digital transformation to their ability to adapt and succeed – moreover, it is not just considered as a ‘nice-to-have’, but a necessity.
As mentioned, digital transformation is very much an ongoing process and can be seen as something of a journey, which it is essential to embark on, to continually adapt to an ever-changing business environment. And, certainly, the rollercoaster ride of the past year has demonstrated just how vital that is. This ongoing strategy is summed up well by global research and advisory organisation Gartner, who have coined the phrase ‘ContinuousNext’, which highlights how, beyond initial digital transformation, businesses need to constantly adapt to thrive. It is, therefore, true to say that neither business nor technology standstill and further ground-breaking developments on the horizon look set to change the face of how we work yet further, in the not too distant future. For example, AI is having a large impact on unified communication technology, which could result in such game-changing innovations as automated minute-taking applications and the ability to hold meetings in two languages, without the need for participants to be multilingual. However, in the present day, to have an effective digital transformation strategy, it is also critical to ensure that you keep up to date with all upgrades and improvements available for your current technology. This can be easily and effectively achieved by employing fully managed cloud services, where all updates are automatic, to ensure that the latest features and functionality are always available.
Whatever stage you’re at in your digital transformation journey, Prodec Networks can help you implement the very best technology to achieve the results you need. Prodec provides a wide range of integrated technology solutions and services which can enable you to take your business to a whole new level. Speak with one of our transformation experts today.