Digitization is leveraging the digital information technologies and platforms to replicate non-digital processes with digital processes, evaluating the current operating strategies, then reimagining and re-engineering them in a way such that value is created and efficiency is attained in both providing services to clients and handling the business. As Gartner defines it, digitalization is “the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.”
Market Trends & Market Capitalization of Digitization services
The global digital transformation market size is expected to grow from USD 469.8 billion in 2020 to USD 1009.8 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.5% during the forecast period. The increasing penetration of mobile devices, applications and software and increased adoption of cloud services is due to the major growth drivers of the digital transformation market.
According to IDC, the global investment by companies and organizations into digitization will grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.1% per annum. It is expected to reach a staggering $2.3 trillion (53% of all ICT spending) by 2023. The estimates suggest that America will be the biggest investor in digital transformation, followed by Europe and China. It is also predicted that China will overtake Europe by 2023.
Digitization holds the key to integrate and streamline all business processes to increase efficiency. Shifting from traditional approach of business conduct to new digitally transformed business models facilitates the introduction of technologically advanced products and services. It helps organizations to streamline their operations for smoother conduct and saving time, efforts, and resources by replacing traditional processes with automation, and thus lowering the rate of errors by users.
Upcoming shifts in the industry
- There are two breakthrough technologies that will hit the road in 2021: WiFi 6 and 5G mobile networks. The sixth generation of Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11ax, provides more speed, lower latency, and increased device density.
- The number of IoT-connected devices is set to increase to 43 billion by 2023, according to McKinsey (an almost threefold increase from 2018). This surge in growth, fueled in large part by lower costs of sensor technology, represents a massive opportunity for the manufacturing industry, boosting production flows through enhanced visibility of shop floor and field operations, as well as the manufacturing supply chain, and remote and outsourced operations.
- The new possibilities of reimagining consumer and employee experience emerge from the ever-growing connectivity, technological breakthroughs in machine learning, and edge computing hardware advancement. Such industries as retail, hospitality, and healthcare will be revolutionized by providing digitized user interfaces (conversational, gesture, augmented reality) and using sensors to collect data about the user context in order to personalize services.
Recognizing the need for an online office
In this modern competitive world, clients expect optimum quality from the services they are offered. They are in a constant search for more value and increased flexibility. By having a digital presence and making use of the latest technologies, businesses can efficiently meet the above expectations of clients while gaining an upper hand over their competitors.
Deloitte, explained the importance of digitalization for businesses to increase their revenue and profit margins by the concept of digital maturity. Digitally mature companies are those companies that are able to benefit from the maximum features that digital transformation has to offer. Deloitte’s Digital transformation study 2020 stated that “Our results from this year’s study soundly corroborate last year’s finding that greater digital maturity is associated with better financial performance. The higher-maturity companies in this year’s sample were about three times more likely than lower-maturity companies to report annual net revenue growth and net profit margins significantly above their industry average — a pattern that held true across industries.”
Digitization is also about staying relevant to the current flow of technologies. A business that does not stay up-to-date with the latest methods in the market puts its revenue and goodwill in jeopardy and will eventually fail.
Why digitize your process?
Digitization can help your business by
Dealing with physical documents slows down the workflow. The time required to traditionally record a request on paper, then scanning, printing and submitting it to another department may be reduced to a couple of minutes by use of digitization.
Ease of management:
In companies, there is almost an endless flow of papers on a regular basis. Digitization can help those companies by storing the documents online, which reduces the chances of lost documents and helps to track them easily.
Optimizing business processes:
Digitization allows the convergence of data from planning and production, customer orders, waste and asset management, with IT data and analytics to “virtually” visualize the profitability of a project before it’s even started.
After getting an overview of digitization, it can be understood that it is not just about having an online presence but also about constantly making necessary changes in the processes. Digitalization brings automation, and automation is aimed at reducing human efforts and making operations leaner and less costly. Adriaan Van Wyk, CEO of K2, once stated that by automating particular tasks and operations, skilled staff gets more time away from routine, monotonous processes and spend more of their focus on the processes that lead to growth and innovation.
While convenience is one of the most apparent advantages of Digitization, the same is not true for some particular operations. For example, staff in some companies are required to get a physical form of documents for the purpose of signature, attachment, or submission and have to go through the mundane process of taking the printout, making necessary changes, and then re-scanning it with those changes for submission.
Knowledge workers in many cases prefer to have their documents in physical form either out of their habit or preferences. An IDC research was conduct wherein it stated that the desire to have a hard copy for use at home, workplace, or while traveling is the top reason why knowledge workers print. These workers often tend to show signs of retaliation when asked by companies to follow the digital approach.
It is not only about knowledge workers’ preferences, consumers too, in many cases, prefer to have documents in physical format. For example, in the healthcare industry, consumers ask for physical copies of discharge instructions and procedural documents to access information. Another example is job applications, some applicants prefer to submit applications via online mode but some also prefer to follow the traditional approach of sending cover letters to companies via mails. Consumers in cases of online and offline shopping also prefer to have physical evidence of purchase like a hard copy of the invoice, bills, etc.
Another category of preference acting as a roadblock for digital transformation is organizational culture. According to research from Gartner, organizational culture plays the biggest hurdle for the digital transformation of projects. Small-scale pilots may work sometimes, but making large-scale overhauling changes in the organization is a big challenge.
Challenges and Opportunities for technology buyers.
Setting up an online office is easier than the immediate next step, i.e. keeping it updated with a seamless connection. It has become crucial for businesses to handle their digital presence with care. Their software should be constantly updated to provide a seamless experience.
After making an operation digital, there surely can be observed more convenience while handling it but with that also comes the risk of safety of necessary data of that operation. With hackers coming in with new technology to hack into not just household computers but even behemoth companies and govt. organizations, need for a top-notch safety and anti-hacking system has become more than necessary.
- Lack of interoperability:
With new platforms and software being launched with each passing day, many organizations face difficulty because of lack of interoperability between new digital systems and legacy business operations.
- Business Process Management:
The business process management market size is expected to grow from USD 8.8 billion in 2020 to USD 14.4 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.5% during the forecast period. Several factors that are expected to drive the growth of the BPM market include the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machin Learning (ML) technologies with the BPM software, need for automated business process to reduce manual error, and improved IT systems to meet customers’ dynamic requirements. Industries such as manufacturing; Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI); and telecommunications are expected to have significantly contributed to the growth of the Market.
Making use of BPM can serve as a good opportunity for businesses as other than just improving customer experience and integrating data into operations, it also helps in:
- Creating a connected workforce: BPM helps to connect workflows of teams not just from the same but also from different departments and business channels to reduce chances of disruption.
- Breaking down service barriers: BPM software helps a process or business as it solves its accessibility barriers by making a business accessible through any device.
- Streamlining workflow: Streamlining the workflow of different departments by way of BPM helps to connect customers, employees, and the business itself in a better way.
A BPM success story
A company called Sprint, which was the fourth-largest telecom company in America before merging with T-Mobile in 2020, wanted to make their customers’ experience more seamless by providing even better network coverage. For that purpose, it planned to gather data for finalizing 70000+ additional wireless tower sites. It required them to survey more than 20 times the number of sites they wanted to finalize. Selecting a site was not the only challenge, it also had to conduct the processes of equipment delivery, installation, permission grant, and inspection quickly. That is when they decided to bring BPM into the picture.
By making use of BPM, their process of management became much easier as its accelerated decision-making process ran throughout the entire platform cycle by putting current and validated data in front of key stakeholders in the right context, both in a connected desktop environment and a tablet. This made it much more convenient by reducing the time of the process of finding and navigating relevant data.
A very useful as well as efficient tool can be used for the purpose of implementation, i.e. Low/No code development. Low/No code development software is something that has been around since 2014 when Gartner coined it, but lately, it has been on people’s minds a lot. Its has suddenly gained a lot of popularity.
As stated in the Low/No Code development guide by Kissflow, “Low/No-code development creates applications with less manual effort by offering blocks of pre-built code to build programs with a drag-and-drop, or easy-to-follow, visual interface. Low/No-code development platforms let teams develop apps faster and with fewer errors than traditional coding.”
Features of Low/No-code development are:
- Easy to use
- Low cost
- Drag and Drop Configuration
2. Big Data Analytics:
Big Data is a collection of data that is huge in volume, yet growing exponentially with time. It is data with a very large size and complexity such that none of the traditional data management tools can store it or process it efficiently.
Big data analytics is the use of advanced analytic techniques against very large, diverse data sets that include structured, semi-structured and unstructured data, from different sources, and in different sizes from terabytes to zettabytes.
Advantages of using Big data analytics are:
- Demand Forecasting:
Before big data, forecasting of demand and supply relied on the analysis of historical sales data, often using spreadsheets. By contrast, modern big data analytics tools for demand forecasting offer a comprehensive view of data across the user’s business processes.
- Improved Product Quality:
Big data analytics tools capture machine-level information to boost production yield and throughput. It can see how many products are produced at what cost and effort. This information can be stored in a central data store to ensure it quickly feeds quality systems to identify problem areas and conduct root cause analysis based on real-time rather than historical data.
- Asset Optimization:
Operational efficiency relies on the availability of the machinery in the production process. As the adoption of IoT grows, a big data analytics platform can minimize downtime by automating the data mining and data analysis from IoT sensors within the machine and can even automate its operations. Manufacturers can use the best big data analytics software–in combination with the Internet of Things — to see the status of the machine, and the parts within it, to determine when a machine can be brought online or shut down to prevent an issue.
Merging big data with cloud computing is a powerful combination that can transform your organization. Cloud computing offers access to data storage, processing, and analytics on a more scalable, flexible, cost-effective, and even secure basis than can be achieved with an on-premises deployment. These characteristics are essential for customers when data volumes are growing exponentially — to make storage and processing resources available as needed, as well as to get value from that data. Furthermore, for those organizations that are just embarking on the journey toward doing big data analytics and machine learning, and that want to avoid the potential complexities of on-premises big data systems, the cloud offers a way to experiment with managed services (such as Google BigQuery and Google Cloud ML Engine) in a pay-as-you-go manner. The chart below shows the composition of Cloud data:
Some examples of big data are:
- New York Stock Exchange generates and uses one terabyte of new trade data per day.
- Social Media generates mammoth data of 500+ terabytes each data. This is mainly generated in terms of photo and video, uploads, messages exchanges, comments, etc.
- Even a single airline company named Jet Airlines can generate more than 1 terabytes of data in 30 minutes only.
3. RPA (Robotics Process Automation):
Robotic Process Automation is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot” to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process. RPA robots utilize the user interface to capture data and manipulate applications just like humans do. They interpret, trigger responses and communicate with other systems in order to perform on a vast variety of repetitive tasks. Only substantially better: an RPA software robot never sleeps and makes zero mistakes.
Here is an example of a small manual process that can be automated via RPA:
a. Alan receives an email notification that an insurance claim has been filed. b. Alan opens up the email notification, copy and pastes the contents of the email into another system (system #1), and presses submit.
c. Alan waits for the confirmation page to load, and after it does he copies the unique ID generated by the system and pastes it into another separate, unconnected application (system #2), then he presses submit.
We believe that a good paper-less strategy should focus on digitizing business inputs that arrive in paper format and those that are unnecessarily printed during the workflow. A great paper-less strategy always takes into consideration the aforementioned challenges and roadblocks and strives for excellence by benefitting from the aforementioned opportunities. These opportunities include elements to improve business processes and enable access to critical information trapped in paper documents.
If all of these elements are pieces of a puzzle, then the puzzle itself is digital transformation. Technology empowered and Customer-focused, digital transformation represents the big picture of all the changes that both large and small organizations must undertake to prove themselves as competent in order to meet the ongoing dynamic needs of customers.
At the end of the day, it’s all just a big gamble. A few companies succeed and many fail, but what matters is attempting constantly even after failure. You have to ask yourself if your organization is ready to enter the big gamble. And if it is, then having as many tools in your arsenal as possible will make your chances of success much more than your peers.
Hannah Park, The No-Code Solution to your digital transformation, Betty Blocks,
Big Data White Paper, CAICT, December 2019.
Michael Wade, Digital Transformation: What it means for business, K2, June 2015.
Alice Correia, Robert Palmer, The Migration from Paper to digital: Why digitization remains elusive, IDC, December 2019.
Jason Bloomberg, The BPM Rennaissance, Intellyx, 2020.
Forrester, The role of IT in Business-Driven Process Automation, Forrester, July 2011.
The BPM guide; Accelerating Digital Transformation, Appian.
Your starter guide to low code development, Kissflow.
DJ Monzaic, 10 digital transformation trends you need to know about, KB max.
The ultimate guide to implementing Robotics Process Automation (RPA), RapidValue, May 2018.