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My grandmother was born in Ireland in 1892 and lived a full, healthy life until her passing 100 years later.

When she was a kid living in the hills of County Mayo, there were no cars, electricity or airplanes. And if anyone had predicted that her and her siblings would live to see rockets in space with humans onboard someday, the proprietor of the local pub would have cut him off and sent him on his way.

I used to believe I would never see the magnitude of technological change that she saw in her lifetime.  Now I’m not so sure.

Just this month there was this headline: Flying Taxis Draw Some Consumer Support.  The story is about the results of a recent study about the consumer comfort level with autonomous flying taxis.  The reason for the study is because companies like Uber are already testing the technology with a target implementation as early as 2023.

There are of course an endless number of futuristic technologies already here – like virtual assistants, autonomous vehicles and AR/VR – as well as many on the horizon that will likely change society forever.

This rising tide of innovation is being driven by businesses leveraging advanced technologies and new processes to better compete, meet customer expectations and increase profits in a phenomenon collectively known as “digital transformation.”

What exactly is digital transformation?  There are almost as many definitions as there are pundits who are discussing it but here are several we found that may help nail it down:

“Digital transformation involves using digital technologies to remake a process to become more efficient or effective. The idea is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service in a digital form, but to use technology to transform that service into something significantly better.”

 Mark Samuels, ZDNet

“As digital technology evolved, people started generating ideas for using business technology in new ways, and not just to do the old things faster. This is when the idea of digital transformation began to take shape. With new technologies, new things — and new ways of doing them — were suddenly possible.  Digital transformation is changing the way business gets done and, in some cases, creating entirely new classes of businesses. Now we’re firmly entrenched in the digital age, and businesses of all sorts are creating clever, effective and disruptive ways of leveraging technology.”

Mark Edmead, CIO Contributor

 

“There’s a technological tsunami on the horizon and it’s about to shake every business to its core. This digital transformation will be bigger than any before it and will be on a global scale, transforming customer experiences along with their relationships with those they do business with. This transformation is being driven by seven major elements of the Internet of Things: artificial intelligence (AI), digital voice assistants, smart homes, drones and robots, connected cars, sensors, and virtual and augmented reality.”

                                                                                                                Chuck Martin, Net Future Institute

 

“Digital technologies enable the development of new or enhanced products and services along with new and better ways to deliver them to customers, along with vastly higher levels of efficiency. More importantly perhaps, they enable fundamentally new ways to organize business. What has emerged is digital transformation, the reinvention of a company – its vision and strategy, organization structure, processes, capabilities, and culture, to match the evolving digital business context.  This transformation, through digital technologies, is not only changing companies but redefining markets and entire industries.”

Vijay Gurbaxani, Director of the Center for Digital Transformation

UCI Paul Merage School of Business

 

“Love it or hate it, digital transformation is at the center of industry-leading organizations. Digital transformation is not simply a list of IT projects, it involves completely rethinking how an organization uses technology to pursue new revenue streams, products, services, and business models.”

Shawn Fitzgerald, Research Director, Digital Transformation Strategies, IDC

Digital transformation is significant for emerging tech PR as well which we will address in a future post.

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