Ever wonder why the term “digital” has become one of the biggest technology buzzwords? After all, we’ve had digital technology for over a half century, since the first commercially available computer correctly predicted that Eisenhower would win a landslide victory in the 1952 presidential election. Since then, we’ve been on a digital transformation journey, a digital revolution, that has fueled nearly every advancement in modern history.
So, why the renewed fascination with digital transformation?
To answer this, retail CIOs must look beyond technology and understand the fundamental shift in consumer attitudes and behaviors that have accelerated technology adoption and given rise to a powerful new force — the speed of expectation. Only by understanding the consumer side of digital can retailers truly appreciate the groundbreaking implications of the digital economy and the tools, strategies and mindset required to lead it.
So, what exactly is “digital” anyway and what does it mean for retail CIOs?
Unlike previous advancements when a singular invention, like electricity, brought about radical change, today’s digital revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that include social, mobile, cloud, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) and a slew of others. By themselves, these technologies are not revolutionary. But together, they have created a powerful set of force multipliers whose combined effect is creating a new reality to which retailers and brands must adapt.