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5 key concepts of Digital Transformation in Business Technologies

It is a fact, we are in the era of Digital Transformation. For those who are not yet clear, the Digital transformation is defined as the process of using technology to create or modify business, cultural, or customer service processes. This is one of the fundamental elements associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4RI. 

And although it is a fundamental process for any company, the path is not as simple as it might seem. In colombia there are peculiar examples of digitization (such as the emergency plan set up by Almacenes Only), but the reality is that according to some international statistics, the percentage of unsuccessful transformation attempts can be between 60% and 80%, with only 5% of companies that report goals achieved or exceeded. 

And given that it is a complicated path to follow, it is also very important to be clear about some key concepts of Digital Transformation that will facilitate the choice and monitoring of corporate goals.  

Transversal culture 

Let us first mention one of the most important components: the culture that must influence a Digital Transformation. A successful digitization process at the business level is first of all a process of cultural transformation. Although it might be thought that, since it is an issue that deals with technology, the IT group or department - Information Technology - will lead the charge, the truth is that this is a change that concerns everyone. 

The change must be transversal, initiated from the leaders within the company who must guide the way. "This new normal must be used by leaders to redesign the digital transformation plan of their organizations, increase maturity levels and turn organizational thinking towards data, as an asset that generates value and with which it is developed from now on , the strategic plan”, Affirms Carolina Navarrete, B2B director of Movistar Colombia. 

A true cross culture will not be alien to any person in the company, and in fact it will change many of the processes to arrive at a true digitization. The only way a Digital Transformation can change is by going through a cultural transformation first.   

Scalability 

La scalability is defined as "the ability of a system, network or process to handle an incremental amount of work in an agile manner or its ability to be scaled up to accommodate a greater volume of work". In other words, it is the ability to adjust technological processes to volumes as small or as large as required. 

In the context of a company that is taking the first steps in its Digital Transformation, scalability will ensure the future of current processes. Steady growth is the mark of a healthy market and company, and the digital processes implemented must be able to adapt to this constant growth. 

"Here the idea is that the technology is adaptable to changes and internal projects of the company –Explains Jorge Mario Sandoval, Claro Empresas corporate marketing manager–. Let's say I'm in a company project and on the way, the government suddenly released a new law and a new field has to be integrated into the billing system. The system must be scalable and adaptable enough to be able to include that field«.

"When you are looking for technology, you need it to be flexible enough to grow, shrink or add new features." 

Jorge Mario Sandoval, Claro Empresas

While it's okay to think about the business services and technologies that currently best suit my business, it's also important to think about how these services will respond in the event of an increase in users. The pandemic has shown more than ever that the demand for digital services can change from one day to the next, and it is essential to know how to respond in a timely manner to this increase.  

Interoperability 

Interoperability is defined by the Information Technology Vocabulary ISO / IEC 2381 as the "ability of two or more functional units to process data cooperatively«. Although this term can be used in different fields, in the context of business technologies this applies to the different implemented processes that each company has. 

Taking a simple example, let's think of a company that has implemented web services for computers but also has a mobile application. Interoperability refers to the ability for these two platforms to be able to communicate with each other, and that they can, for example, connect to the same database to have unified information and avoid fragmentation.   

"One of the most important points is the software. –Said Hernán Nahuel Neirotti, Marketing Manager of Schneider Electric–. It is essential to ensure the interoperability and scalability of my companies. The implementation can range from monitoring the user or the partner that provides the service to the user to know how to prevent, for example, a possible system crash thanks to the data collected«. 

Interoperability, on the other hand, also contemplates systems that are not necessarily compatible with each other. To give a simple example, the implementation of my IoT services may not be compatible with my cloud provider. Reaching interoperability in this type of case requires more time and work, but it is essential within the key concepts of Digital Transformation if what you want is cohesion between services.  

3 advantages of interoperability: 

Cohesive information: Information systems that operate in isolation are identified and redundant information is located to have a more fluid communication between them. 

More adaptability: Systems that obtain information connect with each other and transfer the data they have detected automatically, adapting faster to changes.  

More productivity and control: The stored data is directly related to production and is managed in a way that is available and accessible by more users and more easily.  

Source: Nexus Integra 

One of the most important points is the software of a company. Image: Shahadat Rahman in Unsplash

Flexibility 

While scalability refers to the ability of a system to grow or shrink, flexibility refers to the number of options you have. It may happen that, for example, a data collection has secondary fields that are not critical to the operation of my company. This malleability is one of the most important key concepts of Digital Transformation.  

The ability to alter the data that feeds my company's analytics to adapt to new requirements is one of the skills that should be sought the most. In such a changing market, the normal thing is that there are new requirements or elements that must be monitored and integrated. 

A 2018 study by Gartner Explain: "Your best practices will change as a result of the market, competition, and user habits. This is not done once and now. You have to change your best practices by looking at your selected KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)«.  

Quality  

Last but not least, we find quality. At this point we are not referring to any type of quality in particular, but to quality that can be transversal to all the services and technologies implemented by the company.  

This can go hand in hand with the business service provider as well. The decision should not be taken lightly, since a wrong choice in, for example, the type of cloud services can lead to systems that may not be as agile as they could be. 

"It is not just investing in technology, it must be accompanied by a cultural change and new profiles that allow to appropriate new technologies and thus monetize investments, –Explains Carolina Navarrete, from Movistar Empresas–. Within each of these verticals we have a number of solutions aimed at different economic sectors and for all company sizes«. 

Today more than ever, in a context of recovery and redefinition of the economy, technologies can be used to enhance the processes that already existed, optimize and reduce costs. Although these 5 key concepts for digital transformation are far from the only ones, they are some of the most important to consider. 

Thus, it can be said that technologies will play an important role in rescuing companies.

Sebastian Romero Torres
Philosopher by training and inveterate geek. Lover of video games, technology, music and space.

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