what is digital transformation

What is Digital Transformation?

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase ‘digital transformation’ at your workplace or in the media or perhaps even from your IT company. It’s gained traction over the last couple of years as the ‘work from home’ movement really took shape and companies had to start looking at making their tech work for them.

If you’re one of those people that just nods along and pretends to understand when it gets brought up, Smile IT has your back. Today we’re going to give you a basic rundown of what digital transformation is and how it could positively affect your and your company.

The Definition of Digital Transformation

One of the reasons people struggle to get their head around the term is that it can mean different things for different companies. To condense a broad ranging term like that into a succinct definition can be hard, but to us at Smile IT this one serves us best:

“Digital transformation is the leveraging of new digital technologies to bring about operational change to the processes, mindset, competencies and operations of an organisation.”

What Does Digital Transformation Look Like?

For digital transformation to be successful in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your company, it’s needs to be strategic and planned. Different organisations have different challenges and demands, but the common elements that tie together the process are usually cited as:

  • Customer experience
  • Operational agility
  • Culture and leadership
  • Workforce enablement
  • Digital technology integration

If your company is talking seriously about digital transformation, these five themes will provide a solid foundation for any framework you embark on.

The Mindset of Digital Transformation

As the tech world advances at an exponential pace, just about every operation within an organisation will go through changes of some kind. Digital transformation is the opportunity to embrace these changes positively and adopt a mindset of innovation.

By being innovative like this a business not only ensures their survival, but they also stay ahead of the game and ensure a future where potential is realised. It improves their agility, their ability to serve clients and their competence moving forward.

The mindset needs to start from the top, with management. There needs to be a commitment to leave behind outdated processes and technology and enable the required changes. This commitment then needs to filter down through the entire organisation. There needs to be a readiness to embrace change and a willingness to be educated in new systems and processes.

The transformation is about the people as much as it is about the technology. A progressive and forward-thinking mindset at all levels of an organisation ensures an easy implementation of change and growth.

The Technology

What then does digital transformation look like in the flesh? It varies from industry to industry, but there are definitely some common key technologies driving it. One of these is the rise of cloud computing over the last few years. Software, processes and storage have all largely moved into the cloud, removing the need for expensive hardware and allowing companies to upgrade from their legacy IT systems. The cloud is a definite driver of innovation.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has also been a vital enabler, particularly in industrial environments. IoT is an extension of the internet into devices, allowing for ‘things’ to be connected to networks. This allows them to collect or transmit data between devices and people, sharing information and enabling processes and advanced analytics.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also a core technology enabling digital transformation across a variety of sectors, from healthcare to education. AI is essentially when computers or machines are able to undertake similar functions to humans, mimicking how we would undertake the same function. A common example would be the use of chatbots on websites, allowing businesses to communicate with their customers 24/7 even when no staff are present.

Creating Resilient Organisations

Digital transformation confers an agility that helps create resilient companies who weather storms thrown at them. Look at what happened during the pandemic – businesses that adopted remote work concepts and technology were able to get through lockdowns because of their agile response to the situation. This resilience ensured their survival and sustainability.

A forward-thinking mindset allows businesses to be able to pivot to deal with change, without affecting the service they offer to their clients. Building a tolerance for change also helps put risk into perspective, which fuels effective leadership and helps instil a sense of calm readiness within a company.

Your Digital Transformation Journey with Smile IT

If you feel your company could do more about embracing technological change, please give us a call. We walk the digital transformation talk and would love to put our knowledge and experience into helping make your business more resilient, sustainable and future proof.

When he’s not writing tech articles or turning IT startups into established and consistent managed service providers, Peter Drummond can be found kitesurfing on the Gold Coast or hanging out with his family!