What do we mean by digital transformation? Although we hear or read every day about how companies and industries are migrating to the digital world, their changes are often nothing but the application of new technology to the company’s usual activities. You might call this a simplistic approach, because true digitalization must think of the human factor as a vital element, because doing so accomplishes the important objective of directing these innovations toward business objectives and organizational optimization.
In other words, digital transformation does not onlycover adapting digital devices and systems to daily operations, it also seeks to rebuild the way the company works, its processes and team, adapting to current and future needs. That is how, in 2019, participating in this trend has become an obligation, not just a need or a preference.
On the other hand, some of the resources used in digital transformation include Big Data and data analysis, Cloud Computing, cybersecurity, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, and excellent process integration. Nevertheless, for a company to prosper in Industry 4.0, these resources must come along with a specific objective based on the specific interests of each company; again, technology is not a solution in and of itself.
One of the main outcomes of undergoing this change process is the company’s advantage by increasing its online visibility, which drives awareness of the products and/or services offered to digital users, which translates into a valuable growth opportunity for any company.
What about Latin America?
Globally, not every actor has been able to fully adapt to the digital ecosystem. This is the case of Latin America’s main economies, which have fallen behind the United States, China, South Korea, and India in technological adoption and innovation, according to the most recent United Nations Digital Development report.
In this sense, the Digital Ecosystem Observatory of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) has identified the lack of infrastructure to support digital tools and the lack of connectivity systems increase digitalization rates as sources of the economic delays of countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Uruguay.
This is why it is important for the public policies of any country to support the adoption of digital services, considering the importance of investment as a source of financing to implement the best possible strategies for conducting true digital transformation.
Similarly, major Latin American companies — many of which are leaders in their industries — must analyze the ways in which new technology is being used in their businesses and determine whether they really know how to take full advantage of their investments in technology. It would be equally useful for the public or academic sectors to create plans that encourage companies and business leaders to undertake these transformations.
The digital transformation seeks the best processes using digital and human resources. Only companies that understand this duality and undertake a real internal transformation, including each process or department, and do not simply purchase new technologies in order to keep “innovating,” will be capable of leading their industries and remain relevant for their customers.