Digital transformation – a formal definition

Digital technology is everywhere around us. The internet, smart phones, social media, cloud computing and crypto currency, to name just a few examples. But what exactly do we mean by digital transformation?

Who would you invite to dinner?

I’m sure you know of the conversation starter, “In all of history if you can invite four people for a dinner party, who would that be?”

For me, it would be four gentlemen who are each, titans of industry that wrote themselves into the history books as leaders in each of the four industrial revolutions of our modern age. These men changed the world forever. These are rare people who were not only great inventors but also brilliant entrepreneurs who found a way commercialise and scale their inventions and in doing so, transformed the world of their time.

Bill Gates – A computer in every home

Bill Gates founded Microsoft and unleashed the personal computer to the world. In doing so he played a critical role in the beginning of the third industrial revolution of Computers. That era began with the invention of the microchip in the 1950s. A time in which we also saw the beginning of the space age and industrial robotics. So ended the need for manual bookkeeping and cash-based banking. The personal computer massively transformed the global economy.

Jeff Bezos – The world is only a click away

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon whose company developed the first cloud computing technology that is the foundation of today’s ecommerce, online workspace, video conferencing, social media and so many other platforms. Cloud computing is a key invention of the fourth revolution in which we find ourselves today. This Cyber era began when Bill Gates’ computers where all connected via the World Wide Web which was first switched on in 1994. Amazon and ecommerce have led to the closure of unknown thousands of local retail stores and businesses. Once again, transforming the global economy.

Henry Ford – The world is but a short drive down the road

Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor company and developed the first mass manufacturing systems to build the automobiles that transformed our cities and nations throughout the 1900s. This revolution saw an end to the horse and cart trades that existed for thousands of years.

James Watt – The great great grand father of modern industry

Finally, we have James Watt. This man invented the steam engine. I consider him to the great grandfather of our modern industrial and globalised society.

So, what does this have to do with digital transformation?

Digital Transformation Defined

Our global economy and society is shifting from the technology, structures, and philosophy of the third industrial age of computers, into the fourth age of cyber and the internet. This name we give to this mega-trend is ‘digital transformation’.

“Digital Transformation is the migration of enterprises and societies from the Third to the Fourth Industrial Revolution eras. For companies, this means having digital technology become the backbone of new products and services, new ways of operation and new business models.”

Tony Saldanha in his book: “Why Digital Transformations Fail”

A mega trend driving a modern age

As you can imagine, there is no avoiding digital transformation. It is occurring everywhere. Like it or not, this is the march or progress. For those organisations – public and private – who choose not to engaged and take control over this trend as it applied to them, will not survive in the medium to long term. For those who do, there is no shortage of opportunities to thrive.

Develop your digital transformation strategy

However, taking advantage of digital transformation in your business requires a clear and focused strategy.  With the help of the AGContext Digital Transformation Strategy Masterclass you can take control over today’s digital technology in your organisation.

Scroll to Top