According to the Cambridge dictionary, the digital age signifies the times we are living in currently, where most information is in digital format as compared to the past, before computers became a mainstay for business.
Digital technology has influenced the entire communication cycle, made it faster and more efficient in terms of cost, ease of use, traceability and storage. Business has enjoyed the greatest advantages from digital advancements, arguably because it is a necessary component for society to run effectively. Some business operations have been greatly enhanced by technology, allowing management to execute their duties with greater ease, precision and larger scope. Through digitization, management is able to do on the spot audit trails of processes in the organization, supervise tasks or even employee productivity, and provide reports to gauge the productivity of departments, just to name a few.
Audit trails are an important component in ensuring that there is transparency in an organization at all times. In the past, transparency was a headache because all work was done manually, so it was easy for information or documents to ‘disappear’. It was also easy for mischief to cover its tracks. Not so in the digital age. There are technological solutions in the market that provide read-only audit trails of all staff members and activities in an organization. These audit trails are created once the activity is initiated, and they cannot be edited or deleted, thereby providing transparency of all activities in the organization, should there be any need.
Similarly supervision of tasks has been greatly improved and now supervisors, managers and higher management are able to supervise staff from the comfort of their laptops. This is because all important information is stored and can be used electronically. Management can assign tasks to the staff members and monitor the progression of the tasks from start to finish. This also a useful tool to measure the productivity of the staff members.
Another technological feature that may be used to measure staff productivity is automatic report generation, which can be used to generate both historical and futuristic reports. The reports can provide whatever information the management want to see at the end of a set period, such as pending tasks, amount of budget spent and number of concluded processes, just to name a few. Reports can also be set up to provide specific information on different levels in the organization such as project level, department level, managerial level an overall organizational level. On the futuristic perspective the reports can be set up to show the scope of work that has been projected to be completed in a specific amount of time.
However by far the greatest change that digitization has brought to business operations is online or web based workflows. This facilitates staff to work remotely, whether they are at work or at a remote location. This was an emerging trend before the covid-19 pandemic, and it has now been firmly cemented as a normal business operation due to the urgent need for companies to adapt. This has especially been beneficial to customers, in that they can interact with organizations remotely as well and purchase the goods or services they need, or also acquire any information they may need conveniently, online.
These are just a few of the visible ways in which digitization has changed business operations on both a local and global scale. For a long time this was the stuff of sci-fi movies, for example where country heads would meet and make important decisions virtually through shared screens, or even detonate bombs remotely. But the scope of possibilities is endless, and as I fantasize I imagine a world where information will not only be delivered on screens but on interactive holograms as well.
I cannot end this without mentioning the advent of a major breakthrough in the medical field. Neuralink, an American technology firm, has successfully implanted a chip in a pig’s brain. This chip is currently able to monitor the pig’s brain activity. As of writing this article, Gertrude-the pig, is as healthy as any other pig. This was done for research purposes, and the goal is to scope out possibilities of how technology can be used to heal brain and spinal problems in human beings.
What do you think is the next frontier in digitization?