Today, most businesses are embracing digital transformation to meet ever-increasing customer expectations and to remain competitive and relevant in the world economy. While many organizations still struggle to adopt new technologies – often due to the lack of a tailored digital strategy and the reluctance of many to change the way of business operations that have been continuing for decades – digital transformation examples abound across all industries. According to Statista, worldwide digital transformation spending is projected to reach $2.8 trillion in 2025.
Although digital transformation undeniably makes businesses, regardless of their size and kind, more viable and easily accessible to customers, becoming a digital-first organization is not as simple as it seems. Digital transformation involves simple processes like the integration of communication tools as well as complex ones such as the migration of entire business operations to a cloud-based platform. In this article, let’s dive into what digital transformation is and why it’s important, as well as look at key digital transformation examples.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology to streamline business processes. It transforms an organization’s fundamental functioning, improving customer experience, product quality, and data culture. Digital transformation helps organizations to survive and thrive in the market by efficiently serving the workforce, customers, and stakeholders.
Digital transformation revolutionizes the primary areas of a business, including marketing and sales, customer experience, data and analytics, cloud computing, and communication. Therefore, it facilitates organizations better to optimize their business operations for the digital future.
Why Does Digital Transformation Matter?
Although the goal of digital transformation is enhanced customer experience, businesses may adopt it for many reasons. Here are a few benefits of implementing digital transformation:
- Improved customer experience: The foremost reason to digitize business operations is to offer value to customers. The integration of communication and data analytics tools helps organizations understand customer behavior and deliver valuable solutions.
- Data-driven insights: Gathering and analyzing data related to all areas of a business, such as marketing, sales, customer behavior, competitors, etc., helps organizations to make effective business decisions and optimize business strategies accordingly.
- Reduced risks: Implementing top-notch technology in businesses reduces the risks of failure and ensures high data security. Depending on reliable software and other IT equipment increases business agility and thereby improves the business ROI (return on investment).
- Cost savings: The transition from outdated systems to modern technologies helps organizations continuously reduce operational costs and improve productivity. It also reduces the costs involved in communication, supply chain management, marketing and sales, and more.
4 Digital Transformation Examples
Digital transformation bridges the gap between the digital and real world by transforming a business, applying digital tools like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data analytics, and robotics. The following are some digital transformation examples that accelerate the growth of organizations:
1. Moving to the Cloud
The cloud has emerged as an essential platform for businesses to remain competitive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud platforms offer benefits such as scalability, cost savings, data security, and workflow. For example, Netflix uses cloud-based streaming services to provide a high-end customer experience.
Cloud migration is the process in which all on-premises applications, servers, and IT infrastructure move to the cloud environment to ensure business agility and continuity. There are three cloud-based services to meet specific business requirements that make cloud platforms suitable for all businesses.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS allows businesses to use applications such as Zoom, Slack, and Salesforce over the internet without installing and maintaining them. Organizations can purchase SaaS products using a pay-as-you-go method from their cloud service providers. SaaS improves workforce mobility and client satisfaction, as it allows employees to access applications from anywhere over the internet.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Cloud-based services provide platforms that make application development easier for businesses. Some examples of PaaS include Google App Engine, Adobe Commerce, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): IaaS offers cloud- services like networking resources, cloud-computing, and storage for business on a pay-as-you-go basis. Some important IaaS platforms include AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine.
2. Prioritizing Data Literacy
Organizations gather a large volume of data every day. Data literacy enables employees to analyze, explore, and use all that data to develop actionable insights and make data-driven decisions. Making employees data-literate through relevant training programs in data science helps organizations build a data-centric culture that leads to better business outcomes.
Along with proper data literacy training programs, choosing data analytics platforms such as Tableau, Qlik, and Microsoft Power BI can improve organizations’ data management capability. Therefore, prioritizing and spending time to provide data literacy training for employees, especially based on business requirements, will help organizations thrive in the data-driven world.
3. Implementing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
More and more businesses are incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations. One of the core technologies that helps digital transformation, AI is a technology based on human intelligence that possesses the ability to analyze data, learn from experience, make predictions, and more. Thus, it helps organizations to rethink their business strategy and incorporate necessary changes to increase productivity and business ROI.
AI uses deep neural networks and advanced machine learning algorithms to infer data insights, and it has a wide range of applications in daily life. Voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are the most relatable and simple examples of AI applications. Another application of AI is in e-commerce platforms. AI creates product recommendations for individual customers based on their search history and past buying behavior.
A subset of AI, machine learning allows computer systems to learn automatically from data and improve performance based on that without being programmed. It can provide realistic and scalable solutions for business problems. Machine learning helps organizations in the process of data analytics by classifying, categorizing, visualizing, and detecting anomalies.
4. Initiating Business Process Automation
Digital transformation involves business process automation, and implementing it in the entire business area frees up employees and lets them focus on more creative tasks. Today, most businesses are adopting workflow automation solutions that automate day-to-day tasks without any disruption.
Implementing automation tools increases security by identifying vulnerabilities and preventing them from happening. It’s also applicable to data entry, documentation, sales, approval workflows, and more. Automating all these business processes reduces the cost incurred. However, organizations must effectively align automation to business processes; otherwise, it may not provide the expected results.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant reason to accelerate digital transformation, most businesses still looking to digitize their businesses to keep an edge over competitors. The introduction of 5G, blockchain development, increased cybersecurity, digitalization of the banking sector, growth of cloud infrastructure, and more offers a bright future for the concept of digital transformation.
The advent of Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), conversational AI like interactive voice response (IVR), and no-code AI are also accelerating the growth of digital transformation. The collaboration of cloud platforms and AI-enabled devices enhances business agility and customer experience. Although technology plays a vital role in the future of digital transformation, it’s not just about new technology – digital transformation is first and foremost about building a digital culture.
Image used under license from Shutterstock.com