Essentially it is taking processes that were non digital or manual and changing them into digital processes, terms such as ‘going paperless’ are part of this, and is something that is being pushed by Governments in an effort to introduce and encourage this amongst businesses (primary) and individuals (sceondary). Going paperless removes all of the manual processes around document management, from the manual act of printing and posting all the way to storage and disposal of documents.
Another good example is the rise of Cloud Computing, where services are delivered from the cloud, so that they do not need to be manually installed or manually updated, which along with Cloud storage. Good examples of this are GSuite from Google (email, word processor, spreadsheet etc) and Office 365 which has cloud based storage of documents, and online (as well as installed) versions of Office products.
Digital Transformation can be traced back to 1703, when Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz developed the concept of ‘digitisation’ in his publication ‘Explication de l’Arithmétique Binaire‘. This was then built on by others into the 1940’s. The things that allowed this to leap forward and become a reality were the invention of the transistor (personal computers) and the invention of the World Wide Web. It is at this point that it stopped being purely a theory and become an achievable reality.
One area where this has been truly transformational was the digitisation of the London Stock Exchange in 1986, where it went from an ‘open outcry’ system which was entirely manual to screen based trading.
This is an ongoing process, where systems are being built onto other systems, it is also driving the increased need for super fast reliable Internet (Fibre & 5G) and the increasing need for Data Centres to store this information.