Actually that title is a bit misleading because, like it or not, digital technology is already inextricably intertwined in our lives. Sometimes it’s hard not to be aware of its effects in the computers we use, the cars we drive, the tools we use to communicate with. At other times it sits invisible in the background, waiting for its chance to shine.
For example, did you know that dialling 999 from an android phone automatically provides a GPS location to the emergency operator, helping them to better target the emergency service response? That’s a system which was developed in the UK and has proved so successful that is now being rolled out across the globe.
Naturally, as with anything in life, there are times when the digital solution causes its own problems. This is in fact the second version of this article as the system crashed half way through dictating the first one, wiping out the file in its entirety. That wouldn’t have happened with an old-fashioned typewriter or pen and paper, but then neither would it have been so easy to share the article with you using either of those methods.
And it has to be admitted that wrestling with a complicated order process on days when the internet is running slowly can lead to the observation that it might be quicker to drive to the shops rather than order online. But there again if the internet seller had designed their system in a more customer friendly way then it is unlikely there would be the same problem. Similarly, when the BBC recently hit the headlines for an episode of Blue Peter which apparently gained no online views, their explanation that it was a signed version which needed to be aired in order to appear in iPlayer was plausible but also highlighted a potential process flow problem.
Staying with the BBC, the corporation has announced the creation of 200 new digital jobs in Manchester including engineers, product and project managers and designers. Commenting on the new roles the BBC’s chief technology and product officer Matthew Postgate said “We’re now going to reinvent the BBC for a new generation and we want the best team in Salford to help us get there.”
This is just one example of the way in which organisations are putting their futures in the hands of digital technology. It has to be said that at the moment, with new advances coming in on an almost daily basis, it can be hard not to be greedy, not to grasp every program and available app. The trouble is there are programs which look great but will add nothing to your product, your customer delivery or your employee engagement.
So the secret to delivering a strong future based on digital technology is to choose wisely, to make sure that the products you take up will help you to deliver your vision and strategy. The future is digital; let’s make it a future that you are in control of rather than one which runs away with you.