By Paul Thompson, Deloitte Digital EMEA Lead Partner
Digital is growing at an exponential rate and businesses that have been slow to embrace advances in technology are now in a race against time to ensure they remain competitive in an increasingly automated, online business environment.
Woven into everything we do both personally and in business, we have now reached a point where digital platforms are mature and deployable.
Incredibly, the iPhone is only 10 years old, but each year we expect more - more apps, more security features and easier ways of accessing the information we need.
However, digital is not just about technology, but about changing the way we do business.
It requires us to think and act differently and businesses need to re-think ways of working, be multi-modal and embrace the systems available to them.
Admittedly it does not come without risk or cost. We have all seen the high profile cases in the media recently regarding data hacking and data privacy with cyber-security becoming a core part of any digital transformation activity.
To put the speed of change into perspective, last year Alibaba smashed its single day shopping record, recording 175,000 transactions per second and $17.8 billion worth of gross merchandise value across its platforms over 24 hours. The majority of these transactions taking place on a smartphone.
Advances in Wi-Fi and changes in the fibre-optic infrastructure will speed up the network with the introduction of 5G. Download of data will become quicker and the impact of robotics and automation will become far greater.
As technology improves the overall user-experience, the expectation on business will increase. Legacy businesses will find it harder to adapt and keep up, but the big question is not if but when do you invest and how to mitigate threats and risk along the way?
The emergence of artificial intelligence will put some jobs at risk, what used to take an employee two days to complete, could take just minutes.
Digital needs to be built into your culture. When thinking about digital do not just think of the cost, as the efficiencies may far outweigh the initial outlay. The challenge will be changing mind-sets and adapting to new ways of working.
The digital transformation will happen whether you choose to move with it or not. New business models will be developed which are agile and flexible, but do you want to remain at checkmate or re-position your business to drive change and reap future rewards?