“Digital is worth its weight when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts in harmony to achieve a higher purpose and make a unique impact.” – Pearl Zhu, Digital Maturity: Take a journey of a thousand miles from functioning to delight.
The term ‘digitalization’ is a chameleon – it is used in many different ways by different people. Digital products seem to have more uses than the primary function for which they were created. For instance, a smartphone has multiple dependencies other than for calls and messages. Laptops have replaced personal computers, and iPads have made laptops seem outdated. Online tasks and forms have done away with the requirement for paperwork. Digitalization has made this possible.
It is interesting to see how digitalization helps businesses advance and develop. In an interview with WHU Inside Business, Achim Berg, Operating partner at General Atlantic and Vice President of Bitkom, has identified three major trends for digitalization in business: robotics, artificial intelligence and voice recognition. He further adds that though digitalization is positive it will reduce the number of jobs in future. A company’s success will then be determined by the company’s ability to produce and own platforms and data.
The digital transformation in countries like China and USA has already influenced the worldwide digital landscape. Both countries enjoy the advantage of a huge domestic market, and have set benchmarks that the rest of the world is trying to compete with. Achim Berg highlights the competitive advantage that China and USA have in the B2C area on account of their large domestic market, when compared to Germany and other EU countries. He also emphasizes on the need for the European Union to operate under one data rule and create a huge domestic market, instead of each country operating within its own legislation.
Is successful digital transformation an issue of the government or the people? The answer is: both. Digitalization calls for innovation and ideation, but this ideation is limited by government protocol and legislation. Innovation and ideation is derived from digital education. It’s easy to find people who are interested in talking about digitalization, but quite challenging in finding people who have experience and knowledge in doing it from bottom up. Digital education will help solve this problem and allow developing nations to compete with developed economies.
In the next few years, digitalization will no longer be an exciting trend that is widely spoken about, but will be a usual and ordinary thing. Digital transformation has led to a decrease in the importance of human interaction, however the power of human interaction cannot be written off in the long run. Human interaction led to digitalization, and more digital transformation will lead us back to where we started. As Achim Berg rightly said, “let’s talk about mankind, what we do together, how we interact together as that is more important.”
WHU Inside Business