The Inevitability of Digital Transformation

The Inevitability of Digital Transformation

Disruptive technologies can be difficult for any business to fully understand, process and incorporate, no matter what sector it resides.

Smith-Corona and Kodak once ruled the world with mechanical typewriters and cameras, respectively.  But neither was able to make a successful transition once more convenient digital alternatives arrived on the scene. Newspaper and magazine publishers were caught off-guard when a massive influx of readers and advertisers went online, abandoning the traditional print industry in the early 2000s. Blockbuster likely believed everything was hunky-dory, too, until Netflix and other streaming services took over.

Yet as the saying goes, when there’s change, there’s opportunity. Netflix, a fledgling mail-order DVD company, correctly anticipated the rise of streaming services and made its transition accordingly. If Blockbuster had purchased Netflix 20 years ago as the startup had practically begged it to do, millions would be watching zombies take over the world on a Blockbuster streaming service today.

Nintendo is another digital transition success story.   It initially sold playing cards but correctly envisioned the rise of electronic games. 

Today there’s an assortment of new technology innovations that have been percolating in development for many years now coming to the fore, ready to transform business and society yet again. These include artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and cloud computing. 

What Is Digital Transformation?

While some of these technologies have experienced faster adoption than others, it’s important for businesses to embrace the inevitability of what’s collectively known as ‘digital transformation’ to remain competitive in the future.  

There are many definitions of digital transformation.   One of the more succinct is this quote from Mark Samuels of ZDNet:  

“Digital transformation involves using digital technologies to remake a process to become more efficient or effective. The idea is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service in a digital form, but to use technology to transform that service into something significantly better.”

Who should embrace DX (shorthand for digital transformation)?

Everyone.  Because it’s happening across all industries whether you embrace it or not.

How is Digital Transformation Changing Our World?

In process industries such as oil & gas, for example, companies are creating 3D “digital twins” of complex facilities -- virtual replicas down to the last pipe or valve -- that enable safer and more efficient operations and maintenance.

In small commercial spaces such as quick-service restaurants and retail shops, smart thermostats and a myriad of sensors are being installed that help reduce energy costs by 20% along with calculations in the cloud to set optimum temperatures for human comfort.   These sensors are also being used to reduce carbon emissions as well as the volatile organic compounds that can permeate ‘sick’ buildings.

At wind farms, automated drones take thousands of images to safely inspect turbine blades that are hundreds of feet in the air and are often longer than a football field.  These images are then analyzed with AI-based algorithms to detect tiny defects caused by the elements that can lower energy production as well as profits.

Strategy for Success

How do you know when the time is right to jump in?  Simple – by first testing the technology to see if it lives up to its promises.  Then let the data show you how much you saved/earned/benefited from that first sip.  If things add up, then you know it’s time to move forward.

Over the next few weeks, we plan to explain further what these digital transformation technologies are and how they can benefit your enterprise, taking a deeper dive into how each of the industries we serve are benefiting from the process. We hope to make you comfortable enough to try these innovations for yourself.

There’s another saying: to ignore the past is to repeat it.  We’d like to amend that for this discussion: to ignore the future is to lose it.

Don’t become a Blockbuster. 

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