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What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is defined as the integration of digital technology into your business materially changing how you operate as well as how you deliver value to your customers. It doesn’t mean simply transforming non-digital or manual processes to digital processes. Digital transformation essentially changes your way of doing business and, in some cases, it can fundamentally change your business model.

For many companies, which have been in business for a long time, digital transformation will require moving away from traditional, tried and tested business processes and adopting new methods, technologies, and practices. But what does digital transformation mean in practice, what does it look like when applied in a small business environment.


The most common example of digital transformation is the adoption of cloud computing. When you transition from desktop applications to the cloud, that’s digital transformation. Initially this might not look like such a big step but when you consider lifecycle how we started with paper and physical files then moved to the digitisation of your data such that it became easily accessible and searchable and now the transition to the cloud, you notice how much the cloud has fundamentally changed businesses operations.


Chatbots have brought a whole new way for businesses to communicate with their customers. Even small businesses can now offer 24×7 customer support at scale without the need to hire and train human agents. By hopping on the rapidly accelerated development of chatbots combined with advancements in natural language processing, small businesses can now compete with bigger businesses to capitalize on the exploding popularity of messaging apps.


The digital revolution has enabled us to become more efficient. This efficiency has meant that we have more time and consequently more work to do. More work has brought with it more applications, more tools, and more software. Although these applications make our lives easier, they are flawed in that they function as separate silos and don’t communicate with each other. You send an email here, update data there, and create a task somewhere else. This creates additional work and causes inefficiencies.


The first step towards digital transformation is to understand the potential impact of technology. Don’t ask “how can technology help us do what we are doing faster?” or “how can technology help us do more of what we are doing right now?” Instead, ask yourself “what can technology help us do?” and then design your processes around it.

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