Digital transformation is now, arguably, more important than ever. Reimagining business in line with the digital age, and creating the resources to implement these ideas, is a priority for all organisations.

But what does this actually mean? Digital transformation is essentially the practice of utilising digital technologies to streamline business processes, culture and customer experiences. However, the concept doesn’t mean merely replicating a preexisting service and transitioning it to digital, it means using tech in order to transform that service into something considerably better.

A valuable digital transformation project completely remodels a process or structure, rather than simply enhancing traditional methods. It should create something new which categorically improves customer experience, employee efficiency, or business outcomes. Often, the most difficult aspect of this is translating a good idea into execution.

The innovation should take place to match the evolving demands and requirements of the market, and the pandemic catalysed a pretty big global change in this regard. Covid-19 is the short answer to why the importance of digital transformation has been heightened.

Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance, says George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist. Naturally, this rethinking happens when a business comes to a critical juncture in its journey; Covid-19 unexpectedly triggered this for the vast majority of businesses.

As with most general terms, ‘digital transformation’ has become somewhat of a buzzword, primarily within sales tactics. Despite this, founders, entrepreneurs and business thinkers are using the concepts that fall under digital transformation to revolutionise fundamental practices in ways too important to ignore.

Driving change with digital transformation

There are many implementations of digital transformation, but cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence are all ranking as hot topics.  

On the consumer side of things, big data is playing a lead role. Primarily, investing in data can enable your business to keep up with the rate at which customer expectations are changing. Data will soon be a defining separation between companies and their competitors; the ability to unlock, analyse and adapt using data will become fundamental to significant growth.

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With this, it comes as no surprise to hear that organisations are investing in data analytics. 2019 oversaw a push for hiring Data Scientists, but now we’re seeing the demand for Cloud Data Architects and Cloud Data Engineers. Alex Cosgrove, Head of Data Insight & Analytics at ADLIB, explains, “many companies have researched algorithms and data science models and now need to deploy these into their systems and products,” demonstrating the real shift that is taking place.

Customers and businesses alike are taking the opportunity of data seriously. Presently, businesses are failing to meet the expectations of seamless and personalised experiences – MuleSoft reports that 72% of global consumers would consider changing service providers in response to receiving a disconnected experience. Organisations are clearly identifying this as 90% believe their revenue will be negatively impacted if they fail to complete digital transformation initiatives in the next 12 months.

But digital transformation isn’t solely for the customer. Businesses are enhancing their internal processes to improve the efficiency of team collaboration – and automation has been a central consideration for businesses. It provides an opportunity for innovative business systems and increasingly, IT decision-makers are recognising automation as a key initiative within digital transformation.

One of the many lessons we learned from 2020 is that every business must be a digital business – for customers and employees alike. With good ideas, tools and resources developed through the lens of digital transformation, there is a key opportunity for us all to revolutionise those stagnant aspects of our working practices and customer experiences.

Main Image credit: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.