We are becoming inured to the word “digital”. Digital clock, digital telephone, digital TV… It usually meant that we would be required to buy some new boxes soon. So forget it for now.
But “digital transformation” means something far more significant. More than just a technology shift, it implies a profound, cultural revolution. It signifies a transformation of business and organisational actions, processes, skills and models to take better advantage of opportunities arising from the way digital technologies are infiltrating and impacting business and society. For business digital transformation has become a fashionable buzz-phrase, but it also applies more widely to governments and public sector agencies, including those tackling some of societies’ greatest challenges – such as pollution and ageing populations.
In practice, digital transformation will require changes in leadership style, encouraging innovative thinking and new business models, digitisation of assets and smart use of technology to offer employees, customers, partners and stakeholders a better quality of experience. No single example can capture the full scope of this change, but compare the experience and features of shopping at Amazon against a traditional retail store; compare Uber to a twentieth century taxi service, or Airbnb to searching the Yellow Pages for a suitable bed and breakfast.
Look at your own business through that same lens. If you offer products or services, is it as easy for the customer to search and compare in depth features and prices – and then order and pay – as in the above examples?
This is not simply about customer-facing technology: people interact with a company through many channels. A connected and informed front office offers a better customer experience. Efficiency, agility and responsiveness are enhanced by happier, more informed employees, partners and suppliers.
Digital transformation is being described as “the fourth industrial revolution” because it impacts every aspect of

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