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Digital Transformation – Time to redefine our lives!
Digital Transformation means different things to different people. To distinguish what it is, the industry tries to deconstruct its components. In my opinion, what is important is to acknowledge and understand its impact on organizations, societies and our lives on the whole.
First of all, Digital Transformation (DX) is all about transformations happening in every sphere of our lives –ways of doing business, ways of consuming information, ways of existing and upgrading lifestyles. New technologies, new advancements have given rise to novel options – in the fields of medicine, life science, transportation, the energy sector, agriculture. You name it and you can see the growing difference. These advancements mean a new way of life for us and the coming generations.
Noting a few paradigms – Autonomous cars would mean we might not have to learn how to drive, but how to operate the devices. Fast, uninterrupted, omnipresent internet connection would mean location independence and convenience. Advanced, superfast transportation would change the ways of commuting, time consumption and safety. Developments in Gnome and medicine would mean staying young at 100 years. Robots would mean personal assistants, at your beck and call. Tourism would mean visiting moons or new planets (why not!)
To many of us, these upcoming changes may sound like something straight out of a fantasy movie. People are not yet able to imagine that we are soon going to experience many of these radical changes in a very short span of time – maybe another 10 to 15 years. In fact, we are experiencing quite a lot of changes around us already. Let’s say for example: We are getting used to talking to gadgets now – Alexa, Siri, Google appliances are part of our everyday life. On a lighter note, people are caught talking to Alexa / Siri more than they talk to their spouses or partners. We are using robots in the forms of cleaning devices, ironing machines etc. in our homes; we are interacting with digital bots or assistants at call centers in regular English language; we are using smart and electric cars in the cities and so and so forth. And yet, people may not fully be ready to see and accept the near term of a futuristic scenario.
One of the reasons why it is hard to imagine or to accept this reality is because these advancements are happening at an exponential rate. When things move at an exponential rate the initial developments seem insignificant, moving from 0.2 to 0.4 to 0.8 is not a great deal. But as things start to move from 2 to 4 to 8 to 16, the changes happen in a very short period of time. Our cognitive abilities are trained to imagine developments on a linear scale – changes from 2 to 3 to 4 to 5. And hence it is hard to imagine the massive impact in a short period. Many developments have proven our inability to comprehend these possibilities, Eg. Developments in Human Genome Sequencing or in solar power energy or in battery technologies or in the availability of self-driving cars. Vinod Khosla, in his study best illustrated these points – how developments in Mobile industry were predicted from 2004 to 2012 in the increments on 2 years and what actually happened. The developments happened almost 100% every two years, but the consultants had predicted only 10 to 14% growth at the beginning of the same period.
When exponential growth happens, it has a great impact on price-performance. Prices come down dramatically and performance increases. The cost of gnome sequencing is close to $1000 while just few years back it was in million dollars, the OCR technology solutions were sold for thousands of dollars, today an app costing $2.99 does the similar thing, super computers used to cost millions of dollars just 20 years back, today we carry at least 10 times more computing power in our pockets (in the mobile devices) at less than $1000.
Digital Transformation is creating an era of abundance. We are going to experience abundance of food production, energy supply, internet connectivity, skills and manpower. This would have very different challenges for organizations and for people. Organization structures are built upon the scarcity model – command and control is way of governing. In an era of abundance, command and control is being replaced by community and collaboration. Definitions of full time employment would be replaced by need based convergence. Whatever can be automated would be fulfilled by tools and technologies, whatever gets digitized would be subjected to exponential growth.
Before getting worried about the diminishing role of humans in the new world order, we need to imagine and understand what more humans can do. We would need to accept these changes and create new roles for ourselves, we would need to find new way of life, we would need to find new meaning to our lives!
Sachin Dabir – Founder, Director – Ashnik
Sachin is veteran in IT industry and brings over 25 years of experience in setting up new businesses, leading high performance sales teams and executing growth strategies. He is passionate about open source and is an acknowledged leader in open source in Asia. As a founder of Ashnik he is leading the growth initiatives and taking Ashnik global. His stints in Asia, UK and USA enables him to bring unique perspective to entrepreneurship and life. His interests in writing, reading and mentoring makes him an excellent networker. Currently he is learning to be a patient father to teenage sons and striving to be a good husband.