What advantages does digital technology bring to development work? Should it be used to drive decision making, to inform new product development or partnership strategy? Is digitalization a hot topic in the business world right now? What exactly does it mean?
Digitalization is the process of converting material or information into a digital form. Many businesses are now transitioning online in a bid to streamline the management and day to day running of operations. This shift is being powered by a new wave of technology that allows companies of all shapes and sizes to be more strategic and efficient. This trend is set to continue as more businesses understand the benefits of digitalization and move to capitalize on them.
It helps in storing documents, online backups, workflow and document management to remote working, the possibilities are endless and the process is faster, more efficient and safer than offline equivalents. The process of automation saves you time, space and money.
Other key benefits are:
Reduces operational costs
Enables data to be analyzed
Safer data storage in the cloud
Lack of human error
Over the last 20 years, digital technologies have reshaped the scope of international development. From the Internet of things and open data to artificial intelligence and robotics, emerging technologies have presented unprecedented opportunities for social and economic transformation across the world.
But their implementation is riddled with many challenges, not least because they can be abused by those in power once development project or programme is over.
To see how businesses are looking at the data they collect through digital technology, and deciding what to do with this potential asset we look at the opportunities that technologies present and acknowledge that at least in regards to certain areas like transparency and accountability, but even non-discrimination, if implemented right, technologies can bring enormous benefits. But this can go both ways – especially in the context when the existing space for civil society is shrinking. This means that if you’re dealing with issues like migration, criminal justice or human rights, and you assume that by using digital technologies all your existing problems will just go away, you are likely to end up making things worse. Technology is not a silver bullet, instead, see how technologies can go hand in hand with existing societal and governance processes because if it’s not contextualized and you don’t consider rights and values, you’re likely to do more harm than good.
The connectivity and potential collaboration that digital brings can open up new supply chains, new markets and create different ways of working. Businesses are increasingly offering new services enabled through IoT and digital platforms, those who really win this race will be the ones who embrace the new digital business models rather than trying to derive more efficiency from what they do already.
Digitization will impact jobs – high-skill jobs and low-skill jobs, we need to get on with up/re-skilling our existing work forces and scoping our education and training to meet our needs, for example around cyber-security. Future technology adoptions will increasingly be about doing things that could not be done before and creating whole new business models. It could be that the level of transformation required for this next step is in-fact proving a barrier to digital adoption and hence the improved productivity that comes from it.
Article by Blessing Bassey