Say “Digital” one more time

Digital Digital Digital. All the companies are banging the drums with digital. It is one of most used words now in almost all the companies in the strategy and planning meetings.

“We must go Digital”

“What is our Digital Strategy”

“How can deliver our services/products digitally”

I am sure you have heard one of these statements and many more.

In my opinion, the word is misused and it is another marketing stunt to create demand. Isn’t Digital about building a website? automating the business processes and using a workflow engine?!! Come on this exists for ages now!

I have been developing portals, content management systems, and automating business processes since 2002 and all of this existed before then. The technology sector is evolving every day and it is now evolving at a faster pace than before. However, this still doesn’t change what digital means.

There are some people think that managing payroll information on excel sheets this mean it is digital! No this is not digital, this is going electronic, this is the expected and it is 30 years old technology.

My take on this, “Digital” is about thinking about everything we are doing (as consumers or business) and thinking how software can help to automate the process, take decisions, make the services available 24×7, make the service or product more accessible on different platforms at anytime from anywhere…etc.

Let’s take an example, whenever you pick the phone to complete a service or call a customer service desk to ask a question, this is an unnecessary human interaction that can be easily replaced by a software platform to help you complete the service or find the answer — It is going Digital. When you fill a paper form or a “digital” form on Word or excel and send it my email to complete a service, there is an unnecessary manual interaction and human interference. This can be replaced by a website with forms, workflow engine and tickets or case management system that automates the forms processing and ensure it is tracked and all necessary steps are completed.

Having that said, then Digital is a different way of thinking. It is all about thinking how software platforms can deliver a service or a piece of information on 24×7 basis, take the necessary decisions or filter out noise based on criteria so that the person at the end can focus on what is relevant?

Digital is a change in the business mind-set, it is not an IT issue. IT departments exist in all the organisations since years and years but it is about the business to think in a different way. The business needs to think of how to leverage technology to access new customers, open new channels, deliver better service, gain insights on the business operations to be able to take faster decisions.

For example, a shipments or logistics service company can integrate devices in their fleets to track the location, the journey path then they can use this data to optimise the journey and reduce the journeys’ time and fuel consumption or give the client real-time view on where is their package now. There are a lot of opportunities to use this data.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Note: When I refer to a software platform, I mean all or any of the artefacts involved in the software industry like websites, mobile apps, database, internet, cloud! …etc.

Update:

A Tool to Map Your Next Digital Initiative https://hbr.org/2016/06/a-tool-to-map-your-next-digital-initiative