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Author's profile photo Derek Klobucher

Is Digital Transformation Really Helping You? [PHOTO DOCUMENTARY]

Digital transformation is profoundly impacting this year’s U.S. presidential campaigns, and it is pressuring large businesses to rethink their identities. On this macro level, widespread adoption of digital technologies is completely changing how organizations — and societies — do what they do.

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“The impact [of digital transformation] is very positive,” according to the retail industry’s Adriana Bay.

But on a micro level, is digital transformation helping you or hurting you? Or both?

“It has been a technical revolution and represents a great leap forward,” photographer Josep Loaso told SAP at Mobile World Congress. “It makes the job easier, but also demands a lot of immediacy.”

Loaso is one of 66 people who share their insights in #DigitalProfiles, a new SAP project that examines the human side of digital technologies — and how they’re transforming many industries. In an ironic contrast to data analytics, their candid answers reveal how individual users see the impacts of these high-level, deliberate and strategic implementations.

Work with Everyone — from anywhere

“It expands to every little detail on your everyday work,” said Nasrin Solati of the telecommunications industry. “Everybody in the crew is connected to the rest, so the functioning of the company is always fluid.”

Many others echoed Solati’s sentiment, touting how their organizations run completely digitally, which means they can be ever more efficient and collaborative — and nimble.

“Agility and flexibility have really increased a lot, and if there’s any error, there’s always a backup you can recover,” said Nishat Amtul Hasib of the life sciences industry. “The time saving is vital for our generation.”

And technology is no longer a constraint, leaving organizations free to imagine — and implement — new processes that will optimize their performance.

“Distance does not exist,” Ricardo León of the professional services industry said, holding up a cup. “I can serve you this coffee from Colombia to any other part of the world.”

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“Digital transformation makes it really easy for our clients to get more customers,” according to the telecommunications industry’s David Liewelyn.

And what about the old way of doing things?

Out with the Old?

“It’s extinguished,” the telecommunications industry’s Ayondeji Akomolafe said of traditional business operations. “Now we redefine the industry, bringing new efficiency — so we need more skilled people.”

But at least some of those workers should be skilled in both the new and old schools.

“We still handcraft some works and use analog techniques,” graphic designer María Lopez said, “[but] digital processing is vital to make quick changes for the customer.”

Yet others still yearn for the good old days, before everyone was connected, on every device — smartphones, smartwatches and more — all of the time, all over the world.

“It was better for my parents because they ended work at 5 p.m.,” said Hideaki Yokota of the media industry. “I get much busier; my phone is ringing all the time; and I get chased.”

Exhausting as it may be, hyper-connectivity is becoming an absolute necessity for business.

Competition is Good for Customers

“We know more about the customers, and they know more about us,” said Philip Pecher of the Internet security industry. “So they would be disappointed if we didn’t update as much as we should.”

Retail analytics, in-store digital and even online focus groups are disrupting industries — forcing organizations to adopt them or get left in the dust.

“Deliveries have to be immediate,” said David Fraile of the media industry. “And the competition turns everything into a race.”

And the competition is relentless, according to Chadi Sreis of the telecommunications industry.

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“Our everyday job has been streamlined a lot [by digital technologies],” according to the travel industry’s Keiko Maruya.

“It challenges you constantly,” Sreis said. “You cannot plan for the next five years; you just can adapt for the next year.”

Chasing Perfection

Digital technology isn’t going away anytime soon. Technologists, engineers and developers will continue working on the cutting-edge of what is possible, building creative solutions and pushing the boundaries.

“We make sure that the experience is perfect for the customers when they download,” software developer Andrew Jackson said. “If they don’t like it, we are able to fix it and adapt it for every person.”

See all 66 profiles at #DigitalProfiles, which began as a photo documentary at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. SAP plans to continue the project at other events and venues. And follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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