Digital Transformation in America


Published: October 15, 2020

What is Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the process of moving from a traditional business process or things involved with paper to that of internet process such as a website or transactions that deal with the internet. In the last decade (the 1990s) of the 20th century, moving away from paper and into the digital frontier began. In 1990, Microsoft introduced Office suite, which offered word, excel, outlook, and other software that the business environment used daily. Thus, a chokehold on the business sector with the Office Suite into the 21st century or new Millennium.

Here lies the problem; the transitional way of doing business from our traditional way never changed going into the new Millennium. And three decades later, we are now no further off than the 90s. Nevertheless, the Millennium brought about several failures (1995-2000) was known as the Dot-Com Bubble that crashed in March 2002.

 To name a few successful companies in the Millennium, Salesforce (2004), HubSpot (2006), Facebook (2004), PayPal (IPO 2002), Netflix (IPO 2002), Alibaba (2000), Google (1998). And all of them are still around in 2020. We have been made aware of the Digital Transformation going back to the 90s. As A Result, entrepreneurs-small-and medium-sized enterprises have made too little progress in converting digitalization into their businesses, and now they must.

Covid-19 And Digital Transformation

With the advent of Covid-19 now in our presence and over 200,000 death in the US, business closures, massive layoffs, millions apply for unemployment benefits, and we are still in the first wave of this virus. I remember the 2008 Financial Crisis in the mortgage industry, where I worked as a mortgage company manager. I said to myself, I am going back to school and getting the rest of my degrees, never to be put into this situation again, and reinvent myself. So, after eight years, I walked out with my Doctorate of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Business Management. And I am certified in digital transformation and marketing with HubSpot.

Yes, I know we have some older small business owners in the restaurant, hospitality industry, and the fear of going back to school on their minds; however, I went back to school at 60-years and received my doctorate at 68-years, and you can do it too. So, now there two choices (1) take the time and learn how digital transformation can turnaround your business or (2)  hire a consultant to do it on your behalf. Nevertheless, Covid-19 came a pound us at the right time, for we are technologically able to deal with the change in the business environment and work transformations and workarounds.

However, if this would have challenged us in the 1990s, this country and the world would be less equipped to deal with as we can today. We are in a position to ride technology, with a little entrepreneurial savvy and imagination, to develop a new workforce through automation and digital transformation from the tradition of moving paper to digital into the paperless society. According to the McKinsey Global Institue’s 2016 industry Digitization index, the US operates at 18%, and Europe at 12%, worldwide, we all need to do better.

Digital Transformation of Software

Thus, software companies sold software to consumers; for example, Microsoft Office 365 is now a subscription. Rather than the customer continues buying new software to upgrade, the upgrades now come quicker without, in most cases, the consumer being aware. Cloud computing is part of the same technology; this change of not purchasing hardware and saving users money is the only thing the end-user needs is a computer with internet access. And with these subscriptions, the small business won’t need an IT department; the subscription provider guarantees a 95%+ uptime without interruptions.

The game-changer was the World Wide Web or the internet, the advent of more scope, the speed which changed computing forever. Everyone today is connected no matter your lifestyle, be it a smartphone on the go, tablet for professionals, and laptops to desktops. The world is connected more effortlessly today than ever before. Thus, this made more small business owners have a website to promote their various businesses.

However, the year 2000 brought through the ubiquity of internet access and its scope and application to business, government, and consumers due to the constant dropping of computers’ prices. Digitalization brought on new business workflow and affordability to smaller enterprises. Hence, the cheaper cost of applications and processing and more accessible use of computer systems brought about peripherals. The add-on that made small business owners have a level playing field with that of their larger competitors.

Digitalization of Industries

This phenomenon of digitalization has compacted the world. Entire industries have shifted to make work easier, quicker with fewer errors. Manufacturing, agriculture, and numerous other businesses have brought in use to digitize their businesses to make them more productive and develop more knowledge workers. Entire societies have changed, and yet more could and should be done to digitize small-medium-sized enterprises.

Hence, which brings us where we are today with the Covid-19 and innovations for businesses of all sizes, entrepreneurs and small business owners must leverage technology and make a comprehensive effort to transition from paper to the digital environment. Through planning, training on how to use this technology, the market will have opportunities, and yes, some challenges, but the outcomes of the possibilities can be more extensive. On average, McKinsey & Company argues that the US industries are 40% digitized the knowledge of technology in what it can do for businesses and consumers. However, organizations are guilty of not upgrading legacy equipment to the new digital infrastructure, which will accelerate the digital transformation here in America.
Dr. Donald E. Mitchell