3 Types of Digital Transformation You Need to Understand Before Making the Leap

by Jones David

With the advent of cloud computing, digital transformation rose to the forefront as the process needed to convert hardware and software programs to stay current with modern computing times. This in turn led to the demand for creating effective digital transformation strategies that minimized downtime and increased productivity after migration.

However, prior to establishing a working strategy for your digital transformation, it helps to know about the different types of digital transformation you will encounter. This lets you create the best strategy for your own specific needs. There are many ways to break up digital transformation into groups of varying types, but the best approach is to divide digital transformation into these three categories: internal digital transformation, external digital transformation, and data-driven transformation.

Each category deserves its own deeper dive, to allow for a better grasp of the needs and demands in each area. With a greater understanding, strategists are more likely to determine a successful plan the first time around.

Internal Digital Transformation

The original and earliest form of digital transformation, internal digital transformation refers to the upgrading of older equipment to newer models, along with the replacement of obsolete systems. This means any equipment capable of generating data can be a target for a digital transformation, beginning with the classic dial-up fax machines (one of the rawest forms of data, a fax machine served as an “online copier” where facsimiles of documents could travel across telephone lines) and moving forward.

Older equipment typically placed greater demands on the digital transformation process, since data was less flexible. Re-entering data was common for these older systems. Also, accessing data from the Internet in its nascent stage wasn’t easy, requiring more manipulation once acquired. Often, specialized systems were developed to meet unique business needs, and different operating systems required different software packages.

Even on the same operating system, users had multiple choices for software services such as email, word processing, and database management. Data incompatibility between programs was common, with new applications and tools being developed to make data more accessible. Internal digital technologies allow employees to work and communicate together and with business associates and colleagues.

External Digital Transformation

Contrasting internal digital transformation is external digital transformation; this category supports technologies that connect businesses with customers. Within this realm, you will find both internal and external tools, such as CRMs, social media accounts, chatbots, and your e-commerce website. Due to its visible properties, many consider this category the most significant of the three, spending more time and attention in this area.

Every business should provide multiple avenues so their customers and prospects can easily connect with them. The demand for customer support has rightly risen in importance and effectiveness, but not all customers want to follow the same route. It’s good to offer several points of access for similar services like customer care (i.e., chat boxes and toll-free numbers).

Most important is to not overdo it; not every business needs or benefits from using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and every other social media account. If you don’t have the staff to support those accounts, they become liabilities, so choose your social media accounts carefully and sparingly.

Data-Driven Transformation

Some people may have a better “instinct” for what drives a business and which trends are growing, but in today’s world data outperforms the gut every time. Data-driven transformation points to the management of the information generated by your business through its regular operations. Aggregating data from every facet of business operations and then sorting and evaluating it from different perspectives is akin to shining bright spotlights on darkened recesses of activity and production to gain further enlightenment and insights.

This collection of information has created a new position: data scientists, one of the fast-rising careers (with salaries rising at equally swift rates). And the value of cloud computing is proven greater since it can scale and grow with the data which is being collected and analyzed.

As you strategize your digital transformation needs, use these categories to further break down your plan into manageable parts. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of deploying a successful strategy.

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