I heard a few management consultancies throwing this phrase around a while ago, and I thought nothing of it. Then they started to deploy whole teams aligned to growing our clients as ‘digital businesses’. Then it’s all over the internet. I’m really struggling with it – Just what the hell does it mean?
I THINK it means that a business should embrace ‘the internet’, social media and latest on-line trends. I just don’t get why ‘Digital’ is the best word. I realise that “e (electronic)” is over used. Definitely. “I (information)” is also over used (iPhone). Absolutely. I just don’t think that ‘digital’ is a good natural successor to those.
If you look it up on Wikipedia, you get a variety of stuff.
- “Digital” (in computing) seems to point to a means of storing data – in discrete, separate blobs, as opposed to continuous streams. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_data)
- “Digital Revolution” referring to the 1950s onwards, referring to: “The Digital Revolution is the change from analog mechanical and electronic technology to digital technology which began anywhere from the late 1950s to the late 1970s with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day” (Wikipedia)
It seems to be a bit of a bottomless pit (of nonsense) on the web. It’s definitely ‘in’ right now. More digging required I think. My first thoughts are that the term is over used, over hyped, and simply plain wrong. What business needs to embrace is not ‘Digital’. If it is about more internet ‘stuff’, should we have simply taken first word of ‘Digital media’ and added it to ‘business’?
NB: I have no problem with the concept: that business should integrate and look holistically at their Information Technology, and look at embracing a computerised / electronic / information based set of processes. It’s just the term.
Thinking on it though, most terms used in IT aren’t great: Computerised, Electronic, Information, Cloud….if only more english graduates would help out the geeks with their naming protocols for things. We need a completely new word which will mean “to do a task with a computer or using an electronic device. Or maybe a very OLD word. I shall ask my analogue, lovely and old-school Nanna. She taught me ‘wainscoting’ recently.