When we listen to the term “digital transformation” many of us tend to limit its impact and benefits to the business environment, we typically think of three big themes: processes, employees and customers. Each of them receives an enormous benefit from digital transformation.
Processes from any company as being digital they become much more agile, safer, and much more efficient, supported by the systems that execute them; Information recaptures and duplications in databases are avoided; better monitoring tools are available which gives visibility of all devices, networks, servers with a granularity never seen before.
Employees benefit as they have devices and tools that make it easier to perform tasks which makes them more effective. Instead of logging in and out of multiple systems, remember dozens of passwords, and navigating in different environments, today it is possible to access a personalised and secure work environment from a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, obviously from your home, office, or anywhere with some coverage, and depending on the type of application sometimes even without.
Customers can have an immediate interaction, also through a wide variety of devices through which they can solve their needs in an intuitive way, generating a purchase experience and a relationship with the supplier or the brand which can evolve to unsuspected levels or, in case the experience does not meet their expectations, it can collapse catastrophically with echo in social media.
One of the factors that have allowed and probably even caused this transformation is the democratisation of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies). Not many years ago a PC with 64K of RAM memory was a device that caused astonishment, only banks, universities, large companies, and research centers had access to the famous mainframes and endless rows of disks which for sure did not reach a terabyte capacity, all this sheltered in monumental data centers with very strict requirements, particularly in: temperature, electrical power backup, and personal access. In addition, you had to have a team of quasi-scientific engineers to make everything work perfectly. You had to make million-dollar investments to be one of the elite that could process and store large amounts of data.
The other great element is the evolution of communications. Less than 50 years ago, large companies, world-class corporations, and governments ran their own networks with the intention of increasing the reliability of the voice and data they shared. In countries like Mexico, you had to wait months and even years for a phone to be installed in your house. Although there are still areas in the world without telecommunications coverage, where there is, it tends to be much more reliable than ever.
Today, thanks to the famous Moore’s Law, which has allowed a much greater computing capacity in fewer and fewer areas, with the consequent reduction in costs, it is possible for anyone (hence the term democratization) to have access to computing and storage capacity that they require in few minutes through any cloud service provider that exists. We can literally supply from a coffee shop with our laptop paying with our credit card, the equivalent in computing capacity to what a bank could have had in the 80’s, use it to process any amount of data by a highly complex artificial Intelligence algorithm, obtaining the results in a fraction of the time of what it would have taken us to do it on our own computer, and then free that processing and storage capacity for someone else to use. We pay for what we use with zero capital investment.
The digital transformation has also brought a great benefit to the “ordinary citizen”, which has been impacting our wellbeing almost without realising it over the years and in fact, the pandemic that we have experienced has accelerated this process dramatically in a few months. How long has it been since you went to the bank? How many hours a week did you spend going to the supermarket? How many hours a day did you spend going to your office and going home? If we are fortunate enough to live in an area with mobile coverage, wi-fi or some other, we have more time to do what we want: work more, set up an alternative business to our current job, study a course at a worldwide class university, play, paint, play an instrument, watch a serie, put the phone or computer aside and exercise, live more with your loved ones, in short, the list is endless.
It is a fact that digital transformation, in addition to benefiting companies, has increased the wellbeing of humanity, generating more time for the activities that matter, more information, and knowledge available for our development, more products, and services delivered to our houses. On our devices, the possibility of working from anywhere on the planet without always having to go to an office: you can move to a cheaper city and continue working for the same employer with the same salary. It is possible to have a medical consultation without having to go to the clinic and receive the medications without going to the pharmacy.
The elements to improve our well-being are already here thanks to the digital transformation. It is up to us to take advantage of them. How do we want to live, using technology to our advantage or letting technology use us to our detriment?
CEO LOVIS Spain.