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S Andersen
By
June 19, 2022

INSIGHTS ARTICLE: CT&I - Digital Transformation.

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Digital Transformation

I spent a lot of my technology career being an outlier. As an outlier, you often take a different view of what is happening around you. It doesn't make them wrong in the right form. You write them wrong. It's just looking at things from the other side, which is why the concept of digital transformation is something that interests me. I partly believe that we are in the age of digital transformation. Somebody claimed we were in the information age about ten years ago, and that title is stuck. It's sort of like the concept of intelligence created by humans that we sometimes call artificial intelligence. It's not artificial. We created it. So it's created, therefore not artificial but machine-based, so let's call it machine intelligence. Digital transformation is very similar. All the analog assets of a group, organization, or company are digital. That is, by the way, step 1. The harder step is that all net new processes and organizational systems are digital-only. No analog systems are remaining except as emergency backup systems.
 
Based on what I see, that's why we're in the age of digital transformation. We have a ways to go, yet before we can say we are truly in the information age. We have to transform everything that isn't digital today then we can say, oh, we are in the information age. The reality of digital transformation is for some organizations, it's expensive, and the payback is very long. Those are organizations that are focused on processes and procedures that are older. I spent a lot of time working with organizations struggling with that very problem—the reality of what they have to do to cross the digital transformation divide. I have come up with a very simple definition that I apply, and for the most part, it resonates with all the companies I've worked with over the years. The concept is that an employee, a customer, or somebody needing something from your organization starts a support request. That entire process never touches a piece of paper. It's not printed, not hand-signed it's just digital from the beginning to the end of the documents lifecycle. That reality is coming, but we're not there yet.
 
The interesting final thought on the concept of digital transformation is the reality of the technology. Again the problem with the technology is it's the most part are, rip and replace what the organization has today. It's moving and transferring all those analog bits of information into digital. And then sadly, once we convert the information, you have to make it searchable. There is no easy button that you can press, and suddenly your entire organization is digital. So we live in this almost nearly digital transformation age. We can see in the future this beautiful information age where I can do everything I need to do to manage every aspect of my life from my handheld or tablet-based device. You see, that's the digital future. That's ultimately the information age. We need to spend more time building a better business case for converting analog information to digital. We need to have a better algorithm for searching. Once all of that finishes, we will fully be in the age of digital transformation. Then it becomes easier for organizations to convert from analog to digital and convert the remaining records they have in an analog format that are moved to an offsite building and stored, never to be needed again!
 
The a.m. we will arrive at the information age. It's likely, in my estimation, 20 to 25 years from the year 2022. But for now, we've got to convert, create, and make searchable all that analog information.

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