III.

Conclusion

We hope this course has provided you with a sound foundation and ignited a lot of curiosity about the digital world we are living in, with all the opportunities and challenges it opens up.

As we have seen throughout the course, the digital revolution has many sides, and this has led to technology being adopted in almost every area of our daily lives to improve or replace whatever existed before. We can look at it like a puzzle, with each component – computing, software, connectivity and data storage revolutions – building on each other and coming together to transform existing tools and methods. One innovation leads to another, and new technology leads to process improvements which lead to better products and services.

The first truly disrupting computers – mainframes – led to servers, and once servers connected into networks, they became the foundation infrastructure for the internet. With increasing connectivity, the infrastructure became key to hosting applications. As many integral business processes – logistics, manufacturing, research, development, management – depended on applications, technological advancements led the server infrastructure to support cloud hosting and computing, ensuring greater flexibility and scalability. Benefiting from this improved infrastructure, applications kept serving new demands, from business to consumer needs, and taking advantage of mobile device connectivity, applications are now central to how we manage everyday tasks.

A woman looking into the future through telescope

Our digital world

Today, most of our world is digital. Our computers and smartphones carry all the data needed (and more) to be productive all day long – from email to calendars, from weather forecasts and global news, to food delivery services and transportation options.

Computers powerful enough and portable enough, software intuitive enough for any user, network connectivity advancements enabling rich data to be shared and stored quickly and easily in huge cloud environments, where the capacity of data exchange and computation is many times greater than ever before, lay the foundation for the digital transformation of our society.

Because everyone starts from a different place and the process is continuous, there’s no digital transformation framework or roadmap that can be universally applied. However, people are a critical factor as transformations are not dictated by the technology. They are defined by the goals we want to achieve and the ways in which we are organised to achieve them. Creating value through technology means tackling multiple interdependent dynamics simultaneously, and those factors depend on your culture. We carry the responsibility of shaping that culture and for this we all need to be actively involved in the way technology is built and used.

Digital transformation is the inevitable step forward for technology. Just as water and steam power were used to mechanise production, and then electric power led to mass production, digital technology has automated processes that lay the foundation for new technologies to emerge and further transform the world as we know it.

Part summary

After completing chapter 6, you should be able to:

  • Explain the difference between data and big data.

  • Explain what kind of data exists and is created through the devices we use in our daily activities and what the concept of a “digital footprint” is.

  • Understand how big data and other emerging technologies are tied together.

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