Digital Transformation: How It Started Vs. How It’s Going


A recent global survey on digital transformation has revealed that 80% of respondents have undertaken large-scale initiatives to introduce and enhance digital technology in their organizations. With the increased prioritization of digital transformation across various industries, it is constantly undergoing the brink of change.

From the introduction of digitization to the widespread technological shift brought on by the onset of the pandemic, digital transformation is pivotal for the success of any modern organization. Therefore, businesses must understand the history and evolution of digital transformation, its current state after the pandemic, and how they can adapt to the evolving technologies and enjoy the benefits.

The history and evolution of digital transformation:

Over the past few decades, the world has experienced digital and technological evolution faster than ever before. Years ago, complex digitization was the only pipe dream for most organizations. With that said and done, the next goal has shifted to achieving a complete digital transformation. 40% of top executives have stated that the most significant benefit of digital transformation is increased operational efficiency, followed by 35% citing meeting customer expectations on time and 36% pointing to faster time to market.

But where did this quest for never-ending improvement, innovation, and evolution begin?

While the origin of digital transformation initiatives is often debated, it can be traced back to the 1970s, with the rise of computer-aided design and manufacturing. The 1980s saw another turn of transformation with the invention of the World Wide Web. Organizations started getting unrestricted access to E-Commerce channels, online banking tools, and broader markets.

Simultaneously this led to digital integrations that enabled companies to connect with consumers on a granular and more effective level. The continuous integration of digital technology in manual business processes helped employees to experience augmented and transformative enhancements in their day-to-day operations. These included the introduction of customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning capabilities.

In the modern era of rapid technological evolution, businesses can drive successful digital transformation initiatives more productively than ever before. Examples of digital transformation include cloud computing, low-code, no-code, citizen development, process automation, and much more. These solutions have allowed businesses to adopt technological innovation much faster, offering a competitive edge.

Digital transformation is now imperative for not only automating manual processes but also for facilitating a competitive advantage and driving scalable development.

The state of digital transformation after the pandemic:

The pandemic forced businesses across all industries to pivot and redirect their existing digital transformation strategies almost overnight. Within a few months, digital transformation became crucial for enabling and easing remote employment, distance learning, and online sales channels. With the pandemic causing interruptions in industries across the globe, digital transformation became the key to carrying out seamless operations, engagement, and customer interactions.

Before the pandemic, the primary focus of most businesses was personalization and focusing on their key goals through the conventional methods they have been following forever. While these factors are still key determinants of success, the pandemic proved that well-architectured digital experiences and infrastructure are far more integral. These digital experiences and strategies ensured that businesses can provide customers with an equivalent personalized experience through a digital channel. If not for digital transformation initiatives, companies would be forced to completely shut down operations and production during the pandemic time.

Furthermore, digital transformation has been enabling industries that were initially hesitant to technological integration due to privacy or expenditure concerns. This helped democratize and accelerate digital transformation across all businesses.

The future of digital transformation:

The key aspects of digital transformation since its inception have been agility, flexibility, evolution, and innovation. Over the next 10 years, businesses will have to continue to prioritize and facilitate successful digital transformation initiatives.

For companies at various levels of maturity to stay competitive, they must try to cope with the digital transformation curve. Therefore, businesses will continue to adopt emerging digital transformation platforms to facilitate a low-code solution, citizen development initiatives, streamlined process automation, and no-code integration. Within the next decade, these approaches to digital transformation are predicted to substantially revolutionize business operations by offering tremendous efficiency and productivity.

This needle-like focus on constant innovation is extremely necessary for helping businesses maintain, optimize, and integrate existing workflows. In the aftermath of the pandemic and increased adoption of technology, businesses will continue to focus on refined zero-trust security and hyper-automation through no-code technology. Furthermore, as the speed of technological advancement continues to accelerate over time, businesses will also have to change their approach to utilizing emerging technology as well as addressing growing skill gaps.

While many businesses currently focus on improving customer interactions, optimizing employee experiences will also become a priority. Successful digital transformation is not just the implementation of emerging digital tools but also managing the people utilizing and integrating them. Growing talent shortages with such rapid technological evolution indicate a lack of employees with the necessary skills to implement and maintain digital transformation initiatives. In such a case, businesses will begin prioritizing employee experiences to reduce attrition rates and improve engagement.

Catalyze your digital transformation strategy:

Digital transformation is now an extremely vital aspect of the survival of any modern business. Organizations must be able to consistently anticipate and integrate the future direction of successful digital transformation to ensure survival.

Advanced digital tools and solutions can help your business approach large-scale digital transformation through a lens of simplicity, integration, and constant innovation.

Heather Jones
Heather Jones
Heather Jones is the Social Good reporter at Businessner, covering online stories about digital activism, climate justice, accessibility, and more. Outside Businessner, Heather is an avid film watcher, bread maker, concert goer, and California enthusiast. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea.