From Digitization (making existing systems smart), Digitalization (on-line representation) to Digital Decoupling (creating middleware structures for real time access), Digital Transformation encompasses all aspects of the enterprise, and is now progressing to a new incarnation utilizing Web3 for the Metaverse.
Digital technologies are used to create new forms of communication and expression, and to create new ways of understanding the world. Imagined and done right, digital transformation had a metamorphic effect across almost all departments from business intelligence, recruitment, sales, and marketing, to engineering and specifically software development.
Digital Transformation (DT or DX) is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses by converting non-digital or manual processes to digital processes, or replacing older technology with newer digitally-enabled technology. Digital solutions enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.
In consulting for digital advancement, we realized that there were two paths:
- stay the course (big ships cannot easily change direction), and decouple digital aspects to be separately managed and maintained
- totally disrupt the business and start anew instituting digital in every fabric of the enterprises being
The first we categorized as digitization, and the second digitalization which are described in more detail below.
Digitization vs Digitalization
Digitization is about elevating the business by providing for on-line interactions, whereas digitalization is a disruption – a metamorphosis of the business to take advantage of adjacencies and value streams that were hitherto un-envisioned.
Gartner defines digitalization as “the use of digital technologies to transform a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” Similar to Wikipedia, Gartner also says, “Digitization is the process of changing from analog to digital form.” Digitalization moves beyond digitization, leveraging digital information technology to entirely transform a business’ processes — evaluating, re-engineering, and reimagining the way you do business. If digitization is a conversion of data and processes, digitalization is a transformation. More than just making existing data digital, digitalization embraces the ability of digital technology to collect data, establish trends and make better business decisions.
Digitization is about elevating the business by providing for on-line interactions, whereas digitalization is a disruption – a metamorphosis of the business to take advantage of adjacencies and value streams that were hitherto un-envisioned. Successful Digital Transformation depends on the ability to correctly identify, capture, and synthesize all the relevant data signals (internal and external) in meaningful ways to shift your vision from hindsight to foresight.
According to Tim Berners-Lee the first implementation of the web, representing the Web 1.0, could be considered as the “Read-only web.” In other words, the early web allowed users to search for information and read it. There was very little in the way of user interaction or content contribution. The first shopping cart applications, which most e-commerce website owners use in some shape or form, basically fall under the category of Web 1.0. The overall goal was to present products to potential customers, much as a catalog or a brochure does — only through a website retailers could also provide a method for anyone (anywhere in the world) to purchase (their) products.
The lack of active interaction of common users with the web lead to the birth of Web 2.0. The year 1999 marked the beginning of a Read-Write-Publish era. The Web 2.0 was a welcome response to a web users demand to be more involved in what information is available to them. This era empowered the common user with a few new concepts like Blogs, Social-Media & Video-Streaming. Keywords and meta tags were primary in enabling communication in the Web 2.0 era.
Web 3.0 introduced the Semantic Web, where Read-Write-Execute on-line renderings followed semantic markup and web services. Semantic markup refers to the communication gap between human web users and computerized applications. The XML construct enabled not only the definition of structured content to be human and machine consumable by introducing the concept of tagging and attribution but also enabled computer-to-computer interaction via web services, a protocol that utilized XML templating to enable on-line rendering. Search was primary in the era, with contextual search, guided navigation and search engine optimization to enable better relevance to keywords.
The Mobile Web was the key for Web 4.0. With the introduction of smart phones with the ability to be connected on the go, there was need to enable information to be depicted in situations of lower bandwidth/data transfer rates and reduced form factor. Optimizing creation and deployment of content, and enabling ease of use were key in this era. Providing for a rich user experience utilizing relevant marketing, personalized depictions and targeted communications were outcomes. With the need to account for privacy and security, on-line constructs were also needed to adhere to regulations and standards like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA and other domain specific protocols.
Web 5.0 will be the era of the Symbiotic Web. It will be about the (emotional) interaction between humans and computers. The interaction will become a daily habit for a lot of people based on neurotechnology.
At Numorpho Cybernetic Systems (NUMO), we are building an ecosystem based on what we call the Digital Twine that automates processes. It merges Digital Threads (strings) and Digital Twins (knots) representing enterprise processes and their interactions to coordinate and manage activities intelligently. We intend to be the leaders in the future of digital, our foray with human-machine interactions and in solving the myriad of new challenges that it would entail and our progression as a civilization via the versions of the Industrial Revolution.
NI+IN UCHIL Founder, CEO & Technical Evangelist