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Digital transformation is the optimization and simplification of processes with digital tools and the related digital skills to get the desired result.
This involves removing people, equipment and materials from repetitive processes. And replacing them with digital tools. This then leads to new technology usage, and new skills required to manage this new technology. The output will be the same. But the result should be faster, error free and cheaper per unit sold.
Digital Transformation Example
For example, at a restaurant, for the order taking process. Traditionally, a waiter takes an order from customers. The customers will refer to a menu, like a menu book or menu card. The waiter will use a pen and paper to take the orders. The customers will have to wait for the waiter to come to take their orders. Any new requests will still depend on waiting for the waiter to show up. There can be mistakes in the order taking process. And in the delivery of the food to the table.
Digitalizing a Process Example
In digitalizing the order taking process, the menu, the pen and paper and the waiter are replaced with a tablet at the dining table. The tablet is connected via WiFi to the order processing system to send orders to the kitchen and front desk. Customers can browse and select the items on the tablet at their own pace. And confirm their order with the tablet. And can send multiple orders during their dining. All these transactions are recorded and queued into the kitchen and tabulated at the front desk. This is error free, efficient and fast. Sakae Sushi is one such example. McDonalds self service kiosks are another example. This increases customer throughput and increased revenue opportunity from the faster table and queue turns.
Benefits of Digitalized Process Example
Human resources then can be focused on improving the customer experience with faster food delivery and more positive interactions on the quality of food and checkout. The restaurant does not need to spend time recruiting, training and managing waiters on this basic process anymore. No more issues of no show from waiters. Management can focus on more relevant customer experiences for their customers.
In essense digital transformation does the following:
Digitization is the process of turning physical objects into electronic ones and zeros. The menu card for example.
Digitalization is the process of integrating digitized objects into a process flow. Like the placing of orders from the digitized menu into an order feeding into the kitchen for action.
Methodology of getting this done is very simple. The traditional Ishikawa diagram is used effectively along with spreadsheets like Excel and the unified modeling language (UML) diagrams to map and group objects.
IOT and Remote Sensors
The hardware enabling rapid digitalization is still fundamentally the same. Touch enabled devices, computers, routers and an internet connection. The touch enabled devices can be replaced by other input and output (I/O) devices such as speakers, heat sensors, motion sensors. These sensors connected to a computer can create many interesting outputs, based on the data inputs received. This is what internet of things (IOT) is about.
Drones – The Ultimate Digital Device
People travel far and wide to send things. Like product deliveries, message. And also to collect things, like pictures, products etc. Drones and autonomous devices can do this now. They can go the distance, go the height and still communicate back to us on what is happening or what needs to be done.
Ultimately, like how electricity drives our world today, 140 years after Edison and Tesla developed it, connectivity is crucial for digital transformation. All devices, all applications and all users need to be interconnected to succeed in their efforts and collaborations. Broadband is critical, and has to be included in all calculation of work to be done.
The productivity improvement gained from digital transformation, will liberate people to move freely. However, this also means that people need to upskill and be updated on how to use and manage technology for their benefit or risk losing ground to others.
Skills and Resources
You will need digital natives . People comfortable in using and talking of digital services to get work done. Just like how people were pushed to be educated in reading, writing and arithmatic (3Rs) , 50 years ago. They need to understand the power of using AI, automation and how to explore digital tools to maximise their productivity.
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Credits and References
Featured Image: ID 101954943 © Colicaranica | Dreamstime.com