college degrees in computer science and software engineering that
feature various different programming languages and methodologies.
Looking further, there are technical architecture courses and many
extended forms of tuition designed to school us in every aspect of
technology you can think of.
Yet, despite all these
channels of teaching and the many books that have been written to
explore our world of technology, we appear to largely fail when it
comes to formalising a wider approach to simply ‘teaching digital’.
Understanding digital, the subject, the discipline itself, is
a prerequisite if firms are going to actually appreciate where new
and emerging technology will have an impact upon an organisation.
A responsibility to embrace digital
The consequences of not embracing digital and the process of
moving fundamental work operations to new cloud-based
services-driven platforms leads to something of a vicious circle.
Firms start to haemorrhage employees who look to move into roles
where they will be more productive and the company is left with a
digital skills shortage.
Firms that do embrace digital
platforms effectively will, in contrast, start to develop tighter
integration and collaboration across initiatives that are being
played out across the business.
Digital teams start to
realise that the fundamental skills, approaches and execution
methods they need to learn are the same across different company
departments for different use cases.
The harder part of
learning digital is understanding how it will change the business in
the short, medium and long-term. Firms will need to do that in order
to be able to scale new digital work methods organisation-wide.
User eXperience (UX) strategies
The proliferation of digital platform technologies throughout the
operational DNA of contemporary organisations has meant that it has
become a key element in how User eXperience (UX) strategies are
Forward thinking CxO’s now regard digital as a key
front-line operational topic, much like they have regarded issues
such as cybersecurity since the turn of this decade. The creation of
smart spaces and digital workspaces has become more mainstream as a
method used to improve employee and customer experience – and will
feature prominently in the next evolution of smart cities.
But digital as a discipline comes with some responsibilities. As we
now focus on the resurgence of the importance of enterprise data and
its quality and quantity, we must also work hard to ensure we reduce
technical debt and the presence of legacy platforms that are unfit
for current and future purpose.
We must also now engineer
our business models to enable continued adoption of commoditised
cloud services. Within this area, we need to engineer for digital
with enough precision to enable the use of microservices that will
deliver discrete chunks of application logic for faster and more
Positive results come from thinking,
doing and working digital. Within a defined timeframe we get to a
point where we can deliver on customer and employee experiences,
quicker and better – and organisations on this digital journey start
to shift from project delivery to product delivery.
No more knee-jerk reactions
presence of the IoT, edge computing layer and all the smart ‘things’
inside any given organisation’s own digital universe starts to
coalesce inside a new data analytics fabric. That fabric allows us
to be intelligently predictive across all departments, rather than
work with the knee-jerk reactive standards of the past.
Digital business allows us to start a new process of reengineering.
We start to see a foundational transformation of traditional IT
departments that used to be driven by top-down organisational
change. Instead, there is a new bottom-up architecture and
Digital business also allows us
to welcome the ‘no-collar’ workforce. The rise of smart machines
means that many traditional roles can be automated. This means that
the organisation of the future may need to rewire talent management
for the new workforce and build a culture for increasingly unbounded
and virtual teams.
On the road to digital transformation, a
new core starts to develop around which the business carries out its
core functions. Specifically, we’re talking about supply chain and
finance these functions are fundamentally being transformed by the
convergence of various technologies. In this regard, a
cross-functional approach to transformation can drive the most
The next part of the road ahead will
feature increasing amounts of AR and VR. Blockchain will proliferate
and organisations will start to use exponential technologies such as
artificial general intelligence and quantum encryption to create
even newer commercial systems, many of which will champion
connectivity via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Going digital and bringing the new world of work online is a
challenge worth embracing and navigating the forces of digital
disruption positively is not always straightforward. Ultimately
though, graduating with a qualification from the school of digital
is always worthwhile, so start your homework today.