WMA Headlines July/August 2021

August 20th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Digital Transformation: Can We Finally Strike a Balance?

By Jessica Ferris

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. Nothing could be truer when we look at the past year and how the effects of the pandemic have expedited digital transformation and integration. Businesses restructured quickly when it came to managing employees on site and remotely, addressing labor and supply chain shortages, restructuring operations to stay ahead of the curve, and complying with health and safety requirements. Businesses also embraced virtual platforms to foster customer relationships and improve customers’ buying experiences when a smile and a handshake were hard to come by.

We have seen a burst of new and existing digital concepts manifest at an accelerated rate. Many companies have reconsidered their business plans after earning about these concepts, including how they can improve business as well as work-life balance.

Examples include:
• The rollout of 5G to assist with speedy and reliable connectivity in the age of virtual meetings;
• A shift to hybrid cloud structures;
• An explosion of customer data platforms (CDP);
• Expansion of digital experience platforms (DXPs) that can help boost a business’s e-commerce presence;
• Reliance on artificial intelligence (AI); and
• The new wave of “headless tech,” where businesses are able to separate their front-end presentation displays from back-end data functionality to create custom shopping experiences, such as shopping directly from a social media platform.

I’m not a techie by any stretch of the imagination, but we all have seen the positive impact that technology has had in our businesses and in our lives. We’ve come a long way since the late ‘80s when computers entered the workplace. Everyone was just starting to get their heads around the idea of inter-office email and being able to create documentation without a typewriter. It’s hard to fathom how we managed to get things done back then, but we did. The world moved at a slower pace.

Leaping Forward

Jumping forward 30 years, the digital world grew with such speed that many of us had a hard time keeping up, feeling overpowered and overwhelmed by all its capabilities and options. Businesses were selective and cautious in their technology choices based on what they were willing to implement, reluctant to dive in and let go of what had always seemed to work. Eventually we learned to keep pace with technology and appreciate all the information and resources available to us at any given time with just a click of the mouse or the swipe of a finger.

Information travels instantaneously because of the digitization of our world, and the more adept we can be at harnessing its benefits, managing its vastness, and channeling its usefulness to our daily needs in business and in life in general, the more we have control of its ebb and flow, and not the other way around. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to be mindful of striking a balance—remembering and being cognizant of a simpler time when you could pick up the phone and talk to a real person, as we boldly go where no man has gone before.

Jessica Ferris is director of codes and standards for WMA.
jferris@worldmillworkalliance.com

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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