Possibilities Podcast Episode: 19
Certain things matter in your digital transformation — namely, data, storage, voice, and time. If you're not changing one of those things in a profound way, you're not transforming. You're just adapting in order to survive an environmental change.
That's why COVID-19 may not be the driver of digital transformation we thought it would be. The foundation of digital transformation isn't a new laptop. It's data. And the change needed to accomplish digital transformation must run through something that matters.
Alberto Cozer is the Senior Global IT Platforms Manager at Nestlé. He joined us on this episode of The Possibilities Podcast to talk about the digital transformation journey and why a post-COVID-19 world may not have experienced the transformation many people expect.
The 4 Things That Matter in Digital Transformation
A few months ago, Alberto began writing a series of articles on why certain things matter in digital transformation. He had completed articles on why data, storage, and voice matter. He was working on a piece about why time matters in digital transformation when COVID-19 hit. Here's what Alberto has to say about the four pieces of digital transformation:
What's the difference between a company that was born digital and that company that has been around for awhile?
A company that's just been born digital is still mining direct data to build their business around that. A company that's been around for a while has years — in some cases, over 100 years — of data of experience saved and archived.
But the challenge is how you handle that data. Usually in a company that's born digital all the data comes in and then goes into a system that's highly efficient and can make certain decisions and predictions faster. They may have a bigger error margin because they don't have the experience and the sampling of a company that's been around for a while. That company, though, may hold a treasure chest of data but may not have modern, efficient systems to make use of that data.
Everything that we do in digital transformation is really orbiting data. All our actions only generate more data, which then has to live somewhere.
It's easy to take storage for granted. There's Google, Microsoft, Amazon — the big storage networks — so data can exist somewhere, right?
But at the same time, we've been making leaps in terms of technology for data processing. We are, after all, on the verge of 5G technology that may completely eliminate the need for wires and bring blazing speeds. But we are not making those same leaps in storage. People are still archiving data in tapes.
Plus, given the cost of storage, people need to be asking more questions. You don't have to store every piece of data you collect, just the stuff that matters. You save the data you need until that data is no longer necessary. Maybe you have systems that will make that assessment for you.
Voice has to do more with the end user experience. It took a while for a voice to get where we are. But even though we've finally gotten to hardware devices that can understand natural speech, we have not updated our thinking process for what a voice interface is supposed to be.
And the reason is very simple. We have been developing interfaces for screens for so long that it's a habit. Developers are used to a keyboard, a mouse, or a touchscreen. But now, more and more developers are having to adapt to the reality that voice becomes a truly natural conversation between a human and a machine.
Today's kids talk to Alexa and Siri as if they were buddies, and they know what to request. They are a generation that's being born into this new reality and that will accelerate it even more. So two or three years from today, voice will be even more natural.
The interface model of today is mostly a screen complemented by voice. But the interface of the future will be mostly voice complemented by screens.
Digital transformation has to do with a precious resource that we don't pay attention to all that often — time. You have a certain amount of time to accomplish things that you want. So for transformation to be successful and to really be embraced by people, it needs to be something that helps them make the best use of that time. And that is connected with a good use of the voice resources.
What You're Not Seeing (It's Important)
There are certain experiences that no matter what you do, no matter how much digital technology you add, they're not going to change.
For example, if you're taking a flight from New York to LA, you're still going to have to sit in an airplane for a number of hours, no matter what you do, no matter how much digital transformation you have for booking your ticket or simplifying the check-in process.
In this case, digital transformation has to do with what you're not seeing. What is in the cockpit? What is on the flight planning? That is helping you whether you realize it or not. The digital transformation you don't see is helping your plane take off on time, follow the shortest possible route, arrive on time, and avoid delays.
Simplifying the cockpit — something called cockpit resource management — by adding and leveraging digital instruments and options, helps enhance your experience as a passenger even though you don't see it.
And speaking of your experience as a passenger, time may be static but your perception of it is not. An airplane ride with nothing to do for an hour feels like forever. But an airplane equipped with WiFi, movies, and something for the kids to do doesn't feel so long.
That's why the nature of time can make the difference between being successful in your digital transformation or just going with the herd and doing exactly the same as all the other people who are trying to adapt just enough to survive the pandemic.
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