For those in the world still wondering when Skynet, of Terminator fame, will take over the human race, take a step back and breathe.
Artificial intelligence (AI), and the smart algorithms that run in the background, are already infiltrating the market en masse, but a future in which such technology will dominate daily life, is a little way off.
Because while robots may have already arrived, with smart technologies in fast pursuit, the future outlined in Hollywood movies is not quite aligned to reality.
Remember, not long ago, the global population sent faxes, called landlines and wrote letters to friends and family - alien concepts to the millennial generation.
“At the core, digital transformation is centred around how we apply technology to solve problems, or improve processes, or to innovate,” observed Elliott Murray, head of technology at DiUS.
Headquartered in Melbourne, DiUS is a solutions provider with specialist expertise across the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, providing advanced consulting to customers such as Bauer Media Group, Jetstar and Vodafone, alongside Nib, Medibank and MYOB, among others.
For Murray, such transformation started many years ago, and continues to accelerate as the market evolves, as technology invades daily life through smartphones and digital devices, as well as in business through public cloud.
Coupled with the rise of deployments specific to the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI, new solutions are emerging to transform the way Australia does business.
“We are already able to carry out great speech recognition, image recognition and self-driving cars and that is going to carry on," Murray explained.
But it’s not only a case of new technologies, rather how to keep pace with rapid levels of innovation, as businesses attempt to take advantage to avoid falling off the track.
In assessing a competitive industry, Murray cited the work of organisations from the S&P500, which lists the 500 largest companies with common stocks listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ based on market capitalisations.
These organisations were able to remain in the list for around 30 years during the 1960s, whereas today, an enterprise might only last for 10 years.
“There is a real tangible thing at the end which is your ability to innovate and improve your internal processes while making new opportunities,” Murray added. “And obviously, these technologies [IoT and AI] allow you to do that.”
Perhaps it’s a little presumptive to discuss the benefits of digital transformation, without first defining the technology.
A clear explanation remains lacking however, as customers, partners and vendors project varied thoughts and ideas onto a blank canvas spanning the entire technology market.
In short, defining digital transformation really depends on the business, the use case and the technology.
During his address at CeBIT in Sydney, finance minister Victor Dominello tackled the subject head-on, debating what such a shift in thinking means for the market and crucially, “why are we doing it?”.
“Is digital transformation about digitising paper processes to enhance efficiency?” he asked. “Is it about automating repetitive tasks to reduce efforts and errors?
“Is it about employing AI to improve decision making or is it implementing gadgets and devices to give us greater control over our environment?
“Now if you are thinking all the above then you are probably right, but for me digital transformation goes way beyond that. To me, the essence of digital transformation is about transforming the human societies and improving the human condition.”
Dominello believes that digital transformation can be leveraged to help plan a better city, reduce homelessness, improve health care, protect the environment, advance education, decrease the tax burden and more.
For Dominello, digital transformation is about achieving real world outcomes.
In response, Murray acknowledged that the notion of digital goes beyond an organisation, moving into the daily lives of the public.
Murray recalled a time as a child when mobile phones didn’t exist, during an era when fixed lines where still a mainstay in the house. Fast forward to today and Wi-Fi spots are everywhere in the city, allowing people to access the internet free of charge.
“Will we even need a SIM card in five-years' time?" Murray asked.
Considering changing market dynamics, DiUS is diving deeper into the smarter side of digital transformation, chiefly AI and machine learning.
“You start to see organisations like Google already say, 'we're no longer a mobile-first organisation we're an AI-first organisation' so we're very much focused on AI,” Murray added.
This is where DiUS is playing today, and according to Murray, will still be playing by 2023.
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