The term “digital transformation” has – for a while – been wearing thin. “Transformation”, pundits argue, implies something radical. And as if it could be implemented overnight. In reality, digitization efforts can be small and incremental, and ongoing as an organization grows.
Up until recently, digital transformation has been considered a “nice to have”. Today, however, digitization is imperative, and if your organization is not prepared to employ digital strategies and solutions now, you risk falling behind. Let’s look more closely at what we mean by the digital imperative.
What is the digital imperative?
Microsoft’s stronghold in the technology industry puts it in a good position to set new trends. This means that when Satya Nadella says that business leaders need to go beyond digital transformation – that might well be the case.
The digital imperative more than implies urgency. It implies necessity. Digitization efforts aren’t reserved for sophisticated firms with large technology budgets. It’s for “every organization in every industry”.
Shifting to digital, as an imperative, signals the new, starring role technology plays in our world. Technology no longer exists on the peripheries of business. It has infused with so many of the processes, functions, and people that it is central to everyday operations. This is the true meaning of digital imperative. It is integral to business function, and pivotal to business growth.
What about digital transformation?
Digital transformation has, for the past decade, prompted a technology-first approach for organizations at the cutting-edge. It has marked a rethinking for modern businesses and been a key driver behind technological change.
What’s changed is not the need for technology. It is the perennial idea of change. Business leaders do not, according to Nadella, need to rethink, rediscover, or continuously transform their businesses. The need for change has been identified – and the first digital cogs should already be in place.
In fact, digital transformation at a company-level should, by now, already have happened. Business leaders ought to have recognized the benefits of digitization for their own industry. Steps should have been taken to implement new technologies. At Nintex, we often talk about customers’ digitization “journeys”, and the point here is – customers should be well on their way.
So why imperative now?
The question on many people’s lips will be – why now? Why has digitization become imperative now (and not, say, ten years ago).
The shift toward a digital imperative is really a legacy of the digital transformation movement. Business leaders have made digital investments. CIOs and IT staff have deployed new solutions and trained staff. And the business benefits have quickly, and in sharp focus, become apparent.
For those companies, who began ten years ago on the digitization wagon, “transformation” has served them well. Research shows that early adopters of digital transformation have been better able to accelerate digitization efforts, pivot quickly, and continue to thrive. Late bloomers saw their progress “lag behind” those who were better prepared.
Where digital transformation once was a strategy to set businesses apart from, and ahead of, their competitors, now it’s a question of survival. Digitization has become urgent and necessary. It’s now an imperative.
In which areas is digitization imperative?
The digital imperative, like digital transformation, covers key areas of business. Not every company’s journey is the same, but typically digitization has become crucial for:
- Data storage/management. Recently, the cloud has become key in data storage and management, replacing on-premises legacy systems. Cloud storage offers its users greater security and flexibility, with its unique capacity to scale quickly and security updates and patches taken care of.
- Collaboration systems. Sale of collaboration apps boomed during the pandemic, when remote workers needed new tools to work together effectively. Collaboration tools facilitate a remote/ hybrid work model, while also enabling more structured conversations in-office.
- Productivity tools. Technologies which promote productivity are high on business agendas right now. They include automation tools, workflow tools, and those apps which can track productivity across a project’s lifecycle. These tools don’t just provide an untick in employee productivity – typically they incorporate data profiles, for better decision-making overall.
The digital imperative: a call to action
Until now, digitization has been a choice for business leaders. The word “transformation” has been used to ease business leaders into the digitization process. It has described the metamorphosis from legacy methods to shiny new technologies. From rudimentary caterpillar into digital butterfly.
It has been used throughout industries to great effect.
Now, with many digital systems already implemented, a new era of digitization begins. A business that successfully leverages automation tools, collaboration apps, AI-powered technologies, and cloud-based systems will – in numerous and multi-faceted ways – step up in their market. To digitally “transform” is no longer a choice for business leaders. Neither is digitization something radical, sophisticated, or easy to implement overnight.
The digital imperative is, above everything else, a call to action. It ushers in a new era. And prompts digitization stragglers to adapt – fast.
Make digitization an imperative for your business. Get started today with Nintex.