North American Headquarters - Richmond, Virginia
(804) 323-0467

About Digital Transformation (and its dirty little secret)

I’m sitting here early in the morning having coffee, listening to the ocean and thinking about “digital transformation”. Well, not exactly, but it seemed like an interesting way to start this post.

If you read certain business publications, you may notice that virtually every software vendor and consulting firm are now talking about this “new” concept. The dirty little secret is that this isn’t a new concept at all but simply a way to put a label on the evolution of business practices from largely manual years ago to generally paperless and mobile today.

Let’s take a look at a dictionary definition of the word “digital”:

“(of signals or data) expressed as series of the digits 0 and 1, typically represented by values of a physical quantity such as voltage or magnetic polarization.”


And just for fun let’s look at a dictionary definition of “transformation”:

 “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”.


For my money we’re not seeing a thorough or dramatic change in terms of digital business processes at all.  In fact, most of the technology we have been using  in the past decade or two or three is in fact fully digital, from our laptops and tablets to production control systems deployed on the shop floor. Perhaps the soothsayers are focusing their attention on the wider acceptance of the “digital alternative” to manual or fully human controlled business transactions. Certainly, the need for secure mobile computing has created a mandate for software and hardware manufacturers to provide fully functional mobile systems to allow for productivity at the point of purchase or transaction. But it’s nothing new or transformational. I believe it is simply the product of the business community’s realization of the need to apply the “right tool for the right job”.

I’m definitely not suggesting that there isn’t merit to taking a look at where technology can be deployed in your company to boost productivity, improve your competitiveness or eliminate redundant tasks. After all, we routinely recommend SAP Business One to bring productivity tools to all aspects of the business. Properly implemented, and our team are experts at implementation, this powerful, cutting edge tool can in fact be transformative.

What I am suggesting is that business owners take a long look at how and where they roll out new digital technology and, as they would with older business systems and processes, determine the return on investment. Some pundits in our industry suggest that your company will need to recognize and accept “digital transformation” as a necessary path to success in the future. On its surface I believe we’re dealing with the latest marketing jargon.

BTW, as I was finishing up this article my mouse stopped working. Yay digital.  Just sayin’.