The Road to 2020

What is digital and why is it important?

Recently I was asked the above question and it got me thinking, you hear the word digital day in, day out, at work, home and in the media. But what does it actually mean and why is it important to people and businesses?

My first point would be that digital means different things to different people. To some people, digital may represent owning a smart phone, to others it may mean proactively managing your LinkedIn presence or equipping your business products with the latest technology. You also need to consider the personal and business applications of the word digital.

McKinsey believes ‘that digital should be seen less as a thing and more as a way of doing things’, and I couldn’t agree more. If you want to go digital then it’s no use having small initiatives or misguided efforts, it really requires a full digital transformation. This could be said for both personal and business scenarios, for example, I was recently given an Amazon Echo Dot for my birthday and I’ve found that to get the most out of it, you need to really go all in. Upload lots of skills, sync your calendars, have Amazon Prime, etc, etc. Likewise, in a business context, for example, if you’re going to create a truly mobile workforce provide them with all of the tools they’ll need rather than just thinking a laptop alone will do the job.

Alexa and fellow connected home devices are the latest digital technology to enter our homes.


The phrase ‘digital’ has never been so popular, this is because our personal and professional lives are now more digitalised than they’ve ever been. But why is ‘being digital’ important?

Everyone wants to either improve their lives or businesses and this will involve some form of transformation, in 2017 and beyond transformation will inevitably depend on digital technology. Therefore digital transformation is the path that any company wishing to survive in today’s world must follow, likewise in our daily lives we must transform and adapt to the new digital technologies in order to improve our quality of life.

Digital technology touches every industry, from telecoms, sport, manufacturing and even health and safety. The example showed above is a connected lone worker device, using internet of things (IoT) technologies the device keeps construction and engineering workforces safe.

According to a report by Forrester research, only 27% of brands actually have a real life, functional digital strategy. Unless businesses adapt, improve and transform by taking this digital approach and applying it to all areas of their business they simply won’t exist in 5-10 years, this prospect alone highlights the importance of ‘being digital’.


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