We travel back in time in search of the first digital transformation

“-Jimmy! Define Digital Transformation!
-I haven’t studied it…
-There are no excuses, it is a very intuitive and well-known concept, even for an elementary school student.
-Come on, Jimmy! Or I’ll give you an F that will give you blisters!

It was right then that Jimmy rose like a spring, and with his mind blank and his gaze clouded, he snapped a sonorous and mechanical sound to the horizon:

“Digital transformation is that change or advance relative to any application of new digital technologies in all aspects and aspects of human society.”.

-BRAVO, JIMMY! BRAVO!, applauded the whole class.

That day they carried Jimmy out of the building on their shoulders and immediately instituted summer vacations for the entire school, in the middle of October. From here we can only say: Thanks, Jimmy. We will use your neat and undeniable definition to trace today, on Pandora FMS blog, a journey through time in search of the first notions about digital transformation and its consequent repercussions. So join us, if you like, on our tuned, hybrid, and full of diesel DeLorean, to make an absolute reference to Back to the Future.

Digital Transformation in 2011, 2013 and 2015

We have already burned wheels in two parallel lines of fire with our DeLorean and we have reached 2015. Do you remember? Jorge Lorenzo won his third MotoGP World Championship and Juan Goytisolo received the Cervantes Award. That same year the research center MIT Center for Digital Business and the private firm Deloitte declared: “mature digital businesses are focused on the integration of digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, at the service of the transformation of how business is done. In contrast, less mature businesses are focused on solving discrete business problems with individual digital technologies.” Is it clear enough? If you are not applying digital transformation, your chances of being left behind are high then.

In 2013, the Year of Faith according to the Catholic Church and the year of Luigi according to Nintendo. Not that long ago, not even a line on our DeLorean’s tank marker, we found a very uneven analog-digital conversion, according to Booz & Company, the global strategy consulting team. We are talking about sectors and countries lagging behind in converting from analog to digital. I am sure that if you look back, you will remember the uncertainty and slowness of analog technology. Politicians and strategists at the helm around the world had to step up the development ladder in this paradigm shift. The economy depended on it!

In 2011, with the death of Steve Jobs and the beatification of Pope John Paul II, we find that only a third of the companies around the world have a particular program of truly efficient digital transformation. Sad, yes, but as we travel backwards we will feel this crudeness more strongly.

Digital Transformation in 2000

We refuel our DeLorean in 2000, big milestones of the year? I got Pokemon Gold with Typhlosion at level 91. At that time, digital transformation was a fact very much in mind and in which they were already working, but the arrival of the three Ws (World Wide Web) changed, profusely, the speed and scope that digitization would show. There was increased pressure from societies to pass this process.

Digitization had become a concept/argument that was used at all times. And of course, it had to do with the increased use of the Internet and IT at all scales. This climate, already so common in companies, made us all aware of the issue and even the EU, for example, created the Digital Single Market. From this place arose many of the ideas with which the political agendas of the different countries of the Union were nurtured. The transformation of their different societies began gradually.

Digital Transformation much further back in time

I know you didn’t expect our DeLorean to be past eighty. After all, many believe that from there, apart from the unquestionable Back to the Future franchise, comes all the magic of digitization. However, it is time to accelerate. The Flux Condenser will fume but it will be worth it. If we get stuck in the past, with no possibility of returning, we will learn its customs and form a new family while we make ends meet by investing in aspirin or the gramophone.

In 1703, the King of Portugal, Pedro II, declared himself opposed to the cause of Philip of Anjou and Tsar Peter the Great founded the city of Saint Petersburg. However, the digital transformation has to give thanks at that time to Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, who, attentive, gave birth to the concept of digitization in one of his most transcendental publications: “Explication de l’Arithmétique Binaire”. Years later, 1854, 1938, approx, geniuses as renowned as George Boole and Claude Elwood Shannon complemented and developed it.

In 1939, World War II begins and Gaby, Fofó and Miliki decide to form a comic trio of clowns. But we also have George Stibitz, known in the trade for his work on the development of digital logic circuits and, nothing more and nothing less, than for laying the foundations of the first digital computer. In addition to popularizing the term “digital”, very important for this article.

In 1961, Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel to outer space and Roy Orbison releases his debut album, “Roy Orbison at the Rock House”. But who interests us is Leonard Kleinrock, the American, engineer and science teacher who conceives the Internet in his work “Information flow in large communication networks”. To this day (the day the article is published), this man is still alive. Better go pay tribute to the door of his house. He resides between New York and Los Angeles and likes camellias.

In 1969, the arrival of Apollo 11 to the Moon and the Beatles’ last public performance. The ARPANET network was also created, commissioned by the US Department of Defense, and which is basically the seed of what we now know as the Internet.

Now that we have returned, unscathed, from our journey in search of the past milestones and nuances of the “Digital Transformation” concept, and now that the DeLorean is parked, until the next adventure (in which we will undoubtedly go see a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Queen concert), we can resolve that the digital transformation has led to important changes within business models, social and economic structures, political and legal decisions, culture and other organizational patterns that guide us in the present. The concept went from a small and private sector to reach the hands of a huge public, always eager to master new technologies. The question is: In this new kingdom, as we have seen, new and old at the same time, what is your place?

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