This article was written by Ofentse Olunloyo, Head of Marketing at the Johannesburg Business School, a Faculty of the University of Johannesburg – with the support of an artificial intelligence (AI) content writing tool.

The phrase “digital transformation” gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it mean?

The popularity of digital transformation grows every day as companies look to streamline operations while meeting the increasing demands of customers. Digital transformation is changing the very foundation of business itself. Let’s take a closer look at what digital transformation means and the driving forces behind it.

Defining digital transformation

Digital transformation is a change in a company’s core business that is enabled by new digital technologies. You can think of it as the umbrella term for the initial implementation and ongoing evolution of an enterprise’s digital capabilities. Digital transformation is also synonymous with terms such as digital revolution, digital disruption and digital experience management. It is about putting your customer first and ensuring that you provide them with the best possible experiences, products, and services. For businesses, digital transformation is important because it allows for increased efficiency, decreased costs, and an improved customer experience.

Digital transformation is the current term used to describe what is generally known as technological modernisation. In the past, companies would use technology to add convenience to their services or products. Now, instead of convenience, digital transformation aims for fundamental change. It requires a company to revamp its entire business model to adapt to changing technology and the idea of modernity. This is why it’s so important; you can’t just update your branding or how your website looks if you want to move with the times.

What drives digital transformation?

Digital transformation can be driven by internal initiatives or external forces, but the most important thing is that companies approach it holistically, looking at it from all angles – not just the technical ones. This holistic view should consider all aspects of the organisation – culture, people, processes, and technology – and be implemented in a way that allows for continuous improvement and evolution.

Virtually every industry has undergone some sort of digital transformation within the last few decades, and the pace of change is only increasing. It doesn’t matter whether your industry is heavily tech-based or not; there are always ways that you can find to improve your business when you’re willing to embrace change. This can be scary for many people, as it means going outside their comfort zone and often having to learn a lot about new technologies and processes that are unfamiliar. However, being one of the few businesses that refuse to adapt will only mean one thing: eventually becoming obsolete.


Digital transformation is ultimately about bringing human, automated and cognitive elements together to leverage the power of new technologies for competitive advantage. It’s about harnessing what’s happening in the world around you to transform your own business, product or service. It requires a cultural shift from an environment structured around projects and departments to one focused on cross-functional collaboration, which leverages specific capabilities often lacking in many organizations today.