The usage of digital technologies is growing rapidly. This trend of digital transformation is changing our entire society. It offers new opportunities for innovative and creative ways of working that eventually replace traditional ways of working. What did the digital transformation bring us so far, what opportunities does this offer for businesses and what threats (or rather challenges) are there for organizations?
Digital evolution began around the 1980s with CDs, e-mails and personal computers. With the rise of major technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, the use of digital possibilities increased in the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century. And now we have ended up in the Web 3.0 era. Internet applications are more attuned to each other, can go hand in hand or can be integrated. Think of smart homes and smart cars, augmented reality and crowd funding.
The digital transformation offers enormous opportunities for companies. By deploying the right applications and having them communicate with each other, processes become more efficient, more valuable information is collected to enhance decision-making and it becomes possible to improve the business and gain a competitive advantage. The digital transformation enables many companies to work completely paperless in a number of departments. This saves costs, prevents errors and makes many daily routines easier. Also think about collecting telematics data; 'objects' can be monitored remotely and this information can be anticipated on by, for example, performing preventive maintenance.
But this technological progress also brings a number of challenges for organizations. Challenges that, if not properly addressed, can have disastrous consequences. Security is a big challenge. In many cases, the security of applications and the protection of (personal) data is an underexposed aspect in digital evolution. But even at large organizations like Yahoo and Equifax, data leaks have been detected with disastrous consequences. Another important challenge is to create support among employees for implementing new applications. People need to see the added value of a new idea or new way of working. Only then are they prepared to let go of the traditional method.
No matter which industry you operate in, the digital transformation affects your business. If you handle this well, you can benefit enormously. You need to come up with the right ideas and apply the right technologies and products in your business model with paying enough attention to the risks.
Philip van Kemenade is marketer at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.