Digital Transformation

By Suzie Cowling|12th January 2021

Digital Transformation blog

It seems to me that never a day goes by without an article on Digital Transformation landing in my inbox.  I work in an IT company and have done for 34 years (yes there was such a thing as IT 34 years ago, thank you!) and sometimes I am puzzled by the jargon used when talking about this “hot topic”

So, what is “digital transformation”?  Put simply it is the process of using digital technologies to create new , or modify existing, business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. Digital technologies are electronic tools, systems, devices and resources that generate, store or process data. Some examples of these are websites; buying and selling online; smartphones; digital TVs, eBooks to name but a few.  In the industry that I work in, cyber security; cloud technology, both managed services and software as a service (SaaS) are also examples of digital technology.

Digital transformation was already a key initiative, but the Covid-19 pandemic has provided a catalyst for a lot of these technologies.  It seems to me that they have taken on a heightened importance and are being developed at an incredibly fast rate. Business owners and management are looking at how they can harness some of these technologies to help them communicate with customers, suppliers and colleagues.   Where would we have been in the last few months without cloud technologies?

When is the last time you were able to meet face to face with a customer or supplier?  By adopting cloud software for our telephony and video collaboration, our company has been able to help not only our client base but also keep the DCS Team in touch with what is happening.  As a Christmas party this year was out of the question for us, we set up a Christmas Quiz on Teams video and it was just fantastic to see not only colleagues but also their families a few days before the festivities.

People now want and expect the same ease of use of the applications and processes they use at work that they experience on social media or using Apps on their smartphones.  No longer do we have to wait for answers to questions – all the information we need is at our fingertips using the Internet.

When I first started working at DCS,  engineers had to go on site to fix any computer problems our clients had. However, it wasn’t too long before our carpark was running out of spaces as our team were able to fix most issues remotely without the need to go on site.   Now working from home or “WFH” a term which will probably be included in the Oxford English dictionary is much more the norm, particularly over the last 10 months. Also, companies can employ the right person for the job without being too worried where their employee is based.

The choice we have as consumers as to where we spend our money is mind blowing – we have so  any options to choose from.

All positivity so far – so is there a downside?

Well, as in all things, yes there is but being aware of these means that they can be handled or avoided.

 Having the right skills is key to any successful transformation and not every company has inhouse specialists to help with this.  This is where it is key to partner with a company you are comfortable with and have the expertise and resource to help.  Not only that but they can cut through the jargon and speak to all your team in plain language to ensure that they are all on board and that digital transformation is a business wide initiative that everyone can be involved in and benefit from.

None of us can be unaware of the security threats that digital transformation has brought right into our work and everyday lives.  The UK government website reported in 2020 that almost half of businesses (46%) and a quarter of charities (26%) had cyber security breaches or attacks in the previous 12 months, most reporting attacks at least once a week.  However, with the advent of  publicity about these attacks, cyber-security software to protect organisations and individuals and cyber security staff training, we are all much savvier.  Many more companies are backing up data onto cloud servers.

I have seen many cartoons showing families dining at home (or in a restaurant, roll on when we can do that again) all using devices and not speaking to each other. Use of these devices can have a negative effect on our real-life social skills but can be a lifeline to others.

Digital transformation isn’t a project with a clear start and end date, it’s a constant process of learning and improvement and I think that we need to embrace it.