Largely born out of necessity, we are now in the midst of a technological revolution that will change the way that we work, live and communicate with one another. Some are calling it the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Others may know it as digital transformation.
What is digital transformation?
The term “digital transformation” gets thrown around a lot, but its meaning can be somewhat ambiguous. Digital transformation refers to the integration of technology into all areas of a business, essentially changing how it operates. This can often mean walking away from long-standing processes or legacy equipment in favour of new, innovative practices.
The cloud as an enabler
The cloud is no longer seen as the final destination for businesses, but rather the catalyst for wider digital transformation. In the wake of the pandemic, businesses have been met with a new sense of urgency to adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations and the global move to a remote workforce. Where working from home used to be a “nice to have”, it has fast become the only way for businesses to survive.
With this ever-growing need for digitally transformed, agile working environments, the cloud enables users to work remotely and collaboratively from anywhere, at any time, on any device. The cloud is also the driving force of major tech trends such as IoT, big data and AI, which all enable businesses to offer more valuable, connected experiences.
Many sectors, such as the UK Government, now even have a cloud-first policy, meaning that there is a commitment to consider cloud-based solutions before other alternatives. And it seems that other industries are following suit. In fact, according to a global survey from Salesforce Research:
- 29% of respondents believed that the cloud has already transformed their business interactions
- 39% of respondents believe that the cloud is actively transforming their business interactions
- 18% of respondents believe that the cloud will transform their business interactions within the next five years
A look back at history
So, how does digital transformation link with historic industrial revolutions?
The First Industrial Revolution started in the 1700s and was driven by the discovery that you could use water and steam power to mechanise production. This was followed by a Second Revolution, which began in the middle of the 19th century, exploring the use of electricity for mass production. The Third started in the 1950s and saw the emergence of computers, digital technology and the internet – which brings us to the present day.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, labelled today’s technological advancements “The Fourth Revolution”, characterised by a collective force of physical, digital and biological systems that, together, are fast becoming indispensable to modern life.
He commented, “like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”
The Fourth Revolution
When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential pace. Building on the foundations laid by the first three Industrial Revolutions, modern technological advancements are transforming the business world as we know it.
Digital transformation is driven by connection, and with billions of people connected by mobile devices boasting unprecedented processing power and storage capacity, the possibilities are endless. From self-driving cars to virtual assistants, breakthroughs in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be seen everywhere we go.
Cloud technology has not only increased the efficiency of our working lives, but the pleasure of our personal lives. From ordering a taxi to making a payment, listening to music or playing a game – any of these can now be done remotely.
Shaping the future
The shift from simple digitisation to rapid technological innovation – not to mention the global pandemic – is forcing companies to reexamine how they do business. With increased access to mobile networks and data, we are seeing completely new patterns of consumer behaviour, pushing companies to adapt the way they design and deliver products and services.
It seems clear that in order to really reap the benefits of digital transformation, today’s decision-makers must steer away from traditional, linear thinking, and instead pave the way for transformative changes in the way that we utilise technology.
Are you looking to digitally transform your business? Get in touch with our sales team on 0800 612 2524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your business could benefit from the cloud.
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