Digital transformation has become a catchall term for describing the implementation of digital technologies to re-engineer existing processes or develop new services that better engage customers, support employees, improve business operations, and drive business value to the organization’s bottom line.
Digital transformation became a key strategic initiative in the mid-2010s, as mobile communications, cloud, data analytics, and other advanced information technologies took off, enabling businesses and consumers to easily engage via digital channels.
Digital transformation has remained a top objective ever since, having accelerated in 2020, as work, commerce, and everyday activities shifted online in response to COVID-19 lockdowns. And it continues at a rapid clip post-pandemic as artificial intelligence and immersive web technologies bring promises of new opportunities and disruptions.
“Digital transformation is the ability to adopt and apply technologies properly to continuously evolve and reinvent the enterprise for growth or competitive strategy,” says Tim Smith, a principle at professional services firm Deloitte.
Additionally, digital transformation marks a rethinking of how organizations use technology, people, and processes in pursuit of new business models and new revenue streams – growth opportunities that themselves are driven by changes in customer expectations for products and services.
“The end goal of digital transformation is to be more intelligent and improve total experience,” adds Sheryl Kingston, research director at 451 Research, a part of SP Global Market Intelligence.
Ideally led by the CEO in partnership with CIOs, CHROs, and other senior leaders, digital transformation requires cross-departmental collaboration to pair business-focused philosophies with rapid application development models.