As technology continues to advance and occupy many aspects of our day to day lives, its reach in the growth of businesses and expansion into process management is becoming more apparent. The use of technology to modify business models, add value, and build revenue prospects, shows that digitalization is gaining a greater foothold in business. Digital transformation is therefore inevitable as businesses realize the shift into a more technologically reliant world and the potential for growth initiated by applying digital technology.
Digital Transformation: A working understanding
One of the widely accepted definitions of digital transformation is a significant conversion of business activities, operational processes, capabilities and design to fully exploit advancements in digital technology. The expected outcome of leverage on technology on this scale has an expectedly high impact on overall outcomes – business or otherwise. Notably, one of the permutations of the definition of this employment of technology is a concerted focus on how it is employed in a strategic way, and as a strategic imperative.
In other words, digital transformation is the use of technology to reshape the way we perceive the design of processes, communication and activities – within, and outside enterprises.
Digital transformation, also to note, is not only constricted to the enterprise scene – it is also definitively applicable to other important aspects relating to people, processes and technology. Such as some disruptive uses of social media to perpetuate developmental communications to citizens or selective audiences, right down to the use of personal gadgets as key devices in access to services and platforms – private, or public.
What are the initial responses to digital transformation in business?
With the widespread adoption of digital strategy, it can be seen that some parts of the world are more open to change than others. America, for example, regardless of its optimistic views on the advancements of technology and the benefits, has done little in the way of implementing digital transformation practices in business whilst Europe has shown apprehension and great resistance. Asia however, has approached digital with great enthusiasm and zeal exhibiting high use in customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning.
Africa despite its less developed technological infrastructure has shown significant progress in the utilization of technology in business, especially in its southern regions. Great strides have been made to ensure connectivity across the region with the aid of policy makers and outside investors which has been catalytic in building a wider expansion of digital technology usage, with mobile considerably assisting adoption of digital. The benefits of technological enhancement are consequently being recognized and used to modify business practices for a more digitally inclined world to achieve greater competitive advantage. The growing acceptance and utilization of digital technology is therefore working to bridge the gap between countries and continents as they strive to reach a business accord.
Though resistance is expected were change is concerned, businesses are beginning to see the merit in embracing technology especially in the way that they communicate with customers whether existing or prospective. The use of social media and mobile platforms means that there are a growing number of channels through which to engage customers. The impetus is then driven towards including digital into strategy planning and setting objectives in order to achieve a fully integrated business plan for both internal and external processes.
The case for digital transformation is one that has already been made, the world over. Like emerging technologies, it sets a new frontier for the re-imagination of key processes in line with technology in a commonly unifying manner which boosts capacity to produce, deliver, communicate, market, sell and understand. The growing acceptance of ‘digital’ as a way forward in Africa thereby, stands as an open opportunity to make ground in a world that’s become more and more connected.