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4 examples of digital transformation in unlikely places

The free online course Digital Transformation of Businesses and Services is underway. To celebrate, we look at how technology is changing four traditional sectors.

Digital transformation is the use of technology to change an organisation or industry. The idea is to create whole new products, services or business models, not just improve old ones. Companies that go through digital transformation are said to be more agile, customer centric and data driven.

Digital transformation is all around us

Hailing an Uber. Discovering a new song on Spotify. Subscribing to loo roll on Amazon. These are all examples of digital transformation. But beyond travel, music or retail, where else is it happening? Which sectors are next?

Heavy machinery manufacturers like Caterpillar are embracing digital transformation. Photo by Roy Luck on flickr.

Heavy machinery manufacturers like Caterpillar are embracing digital transformation. Photo by Roy Luck on flickr.

1. Heavy machinery

Quarries, mines and railroads might not seem like a natural habitat for digital transformation. But heavy machinery manufacturers are proving how far pervasive computing can pervade.

Much of Caterpillar, GE and Joy Global’s equipment now comes fitted with sensors. The sensors collect data about performance and feed it into “predictive diagnostics” tools. The tools tell customers about problems before they occur, recommending new parts or servicing.

This not only improves customer service. It also provides manufacturers with new revenue from maintenance contracts and aftermarket parts.

2. Consumer banking

Banking has not embraced digital transformation as fast as other consumer sectors have. Tradition, regulation and IT infrastructure have all held it back.

But things are changing. Start-ups such as Monzo are building mobile-first banks from scratch. Hundreds of thousands of customers are clamouring to sign up.

To meet this demand for better customer service, incumbents are fighting back. For example, Clydesdale and Yorkshire launched a whole new digital bank, instead of transforming older services.

3. Central government

Governments are now exploring digital transformation for two reasons. They want to meet the needs of citizens who are now used to online services. And they want to cut costs in these austere times.

The UK’s Government Digital Service is one of the pioneers in this area. Back in 2013, it gave itself 400 days to transform 25 major services, making them digital by default.

In the process, it made them simpler, clearer and faster to use. It also saved £1.7 billion year on year.

4. Car insurance

Like heavy machinery manufacturers, insurers are embracing the Internet of Things and predictive analysis. They are using these technologies to assess risk and trial new business models.

One example is Aviva Drive – an app that gamifies careful driving. It knows when you’re on the road, and rewards you with badges and discounts for being safe.

The majority of consumers say that they would use such technology in their car or home, if it saves them money.

Want to know more about digital transformation? Keen to try it in your organisation? Join Digital Transformation of Businesses and Services now.

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