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Digital transformation - Statistics & Facts

Digital transformation (DX), broadly defined, is the integration of digital technologies in all areas of a business, improving current and creating new operation processes and delivering more value to customers. It represents a cultural shift to more agile and more intelligent ways of doing business, powered by technologies such as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Companies’ efforts to transform digitally have largely begun, and are going broader and deeper - by 2023, digitally transformed organizations are forecast to contribute to more than half of global GDP.

COVID-19 impact on digital transformation

In 2020, worldwide spending on digital transformation reached 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, growing 10.4 percent year-on-year – a compromised yet still strong growth despite the economic recession caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic has in fact sped up digital transformation considerably, highlighting businesses’ need to increase operational efficiency and improve customer experience, as they are the deciding factors that influence a company’s fate in a time of economic difficulty. More than half of customer interactions and companies’ products and services became digitalized during the pandemic, compared to just a third right beforehand.

Challenges and solutions

The implementation of digital transformation projects is not always smooth – most such initiatives experience some sort of loss of momentum at different stages. Most challenges encountered in digital transformation center around issues of strategy, communication, culture, and talent. The most important factors deciding the success of digital transformation are to have a clear business strategy and a strong commitment to carry it out. Going digital means far more than just adopting certain innovative technologies - it is about the reinvention of business in the digital age. Each company needs to define its own objectives and decide on its unique approaches.

Workforce transformation

On top of having the right digital strategy and the determination to push it through, executives also need to get the employees onboard, particularly as they are the ones most impacted by it. Digital transformation includs workforce transformation and businesses spend hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars every year on the future of work (FoW) transformation. A big emphasis is on investing in services and infrastructure such as cloud-enabled and digital collaboration tools that enable remote work, which was made a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic and will most likely persist beyond that.

Technology adoption

Undoubtedly, digital technologies play an indispensable role in digital transformation. IT spending reached 3.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 and is projected to grow to 4.4 trillion by 2023. Cloud, AI, advanced analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT) are among the most important and most adopted technological innovations leading companies’ digital transformation endeavours. In the manufacturing sector, the above-mentioned technologies, among others, enable the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) which makes factories and machines smarter and more connected, improving productivity and efficiency. 3D printing, the technology that allows for the construction of a three-dimensional object from a digital 3D model, is also becoming widely adopted in manufacturing. It can produce complex objects fast and at a low cost, offering much greater flexibility and adaptability to the production process.

Looking ahead

Better ways of doing business are needed at any time; they are necessary, however, in times of great challenge. Today’s world is driven by technology, and companies need to choose, whether they are to rise the wave or to be pushed (or worst still, crushed) by it.


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