You’ve seen it in every business from Amazon to Apple — the gradual (or sometimes not so subtle) shift toward incorporating increasing amounts of technology into business processes, practices, culture, and operations, all to improve efficiency and create a more pleasant customer experience.
This migration from traditional models and methods of doing business to novel and innovative uses of digital technology is known as digital transformation (DX), and it is no longer something organizations can put off. Some classic examples of digital transformation in action are the shift in popularity from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping and rapid delivery, and the switch from physical loyalty club cards to mobile applications.
As an information technology professional, having specialized skills in the area of DX will give you a competitive edge in the workforce and will set you apart from other industry professionals who might not be prepared to assist organizations, businesses, and government agencies, with this important change. Want more reasons to consider pairing this specialization with your graduate IT degree? Read on to learn why every business will be looking to hire a digital transformation specialist in the near future.
1. The gap between digital and analog is growing, and businesses want to stay relevant.
As more and more organizations adopt digital and technological ways of serving customers and improving employee productivity, those who rely on old business models and methods of operation are finding it harder to be competitive in this digital world. DX is not simply adding new technology but, as in any other fundamental organizational change, management of the change process is also a key driver. To stay relevant and continue to operate sustainably, organizations must shed outdated processes and technology and become more innovative and efficient.
Take for example the influence artificial intelligence (AI) and social media have had on businesses. AI has revolutionized business practice in countless ways by analyzing data, identifying patterns, predicting outcomes, and offering strategic business recommendations, or in the case of a friendly and responsive chatbot on a website, helping to improve the user experience.
Additionally, social media has dramatically changed the way consumers buy and businesses sell. In fact, 78 percent of consumers say they were influenced by social media in their buying process and over half say their behavior was affected by the reviews or comments they found on social media. To ignore the ways technology is changing the game is a sure way to become irrelevant in today's business market.
2. Future-thinking companies want to evolve now and need help to do it.
For a company, DX means never settling for the current business environment. At its heart, digital transformation is a mindset of using technology to constantly disrupt the status quo, in order to bring innovative, profitable, and consumer-centric solutions to the center of business practice. Organizations, public and private, who have chosen to adopt an attitude of digital transformation are always looking to improve and exploit the latest technological advances for their own gain.
Right now, there is a sense of urgency surrounding digital transformation. The wave of change is already in full swing, with the majority of organizations making and implementing plans for digital transformation over the next couple years. In fact, 85 percent of enterprise decision makers believe they have two years to integrate digital initiatives before falling behind their competitors. Furthermore, 27 percent of executives rate digital transformation as a matter of survival.
The bottom line is now, more than ever before, businesses need qualified IT professionals with advanced skills in digital transformation, its underlying technology, and its management, to help them make immediate, forward-thinking, and systematic changes to their business processes and procedures.
3. Technology is the force multiplier in business practice.
Today, every service and product imaginable is available at the click of a button or the tap of a screen. The modern consumer is much more likely to turn to the internet for an answer or a solution than they are to make a phone call or walk into a store. Businesses and government agencies understand this and are making changes to their practices and everyday operations accordingly. They are also looking at the technology they have and reimagining from start to finish how they can run their business more profitably and deliver the best customer experience.
For example, it is a business practice standard to have a well-designed website and frequently update it with the company’s most relevant information. It is also becoming increasingly common for businesses to unify, or at least encourage strategic collaboration between, once separate internal departments such as sales, marketing, and service together with the organizations in their supply chain. Additionally, more and more businesses and government agencies have made the switch to digital communications, both internally and with customers and citizens, as well as other organizations.
To be effective these new communication techniques must be embedded in the business processes to improve employee productivity and communication, better control the organization, and provide a higher quality customer experience. Major issues today are not just the availability of the new technology and its costs, but also the lack of employee skills and the overall business culture.
Marymount University’s Master’s in IT and Specialization in Digital Transformation (DX)
Marymount University’s Master of Science in Information Technology prepares individuals for leadership roles in the competitive and complex IT industry. Marymount’s program provides knowledge and skills across the entire range of IT including systems engineering, decision-making for IT, ethics and law, computer networking, database technologies, IT governance and strategy, Web development, and cybersecurity. Taught by expert, field-trained faculty, our students’ education is supplemented by Marymount’s proximity to Washington D.C., as they are able to learn in a culture steeped in information technology and government related matters.
The program is housed in the School of Business and Technology, as IT today is vital to business and there is a close relationship between the two fields. Technology must be closely managed if it is to be of maximum value to the organization and Marymount’s program uniquely intersects the two disciplines.
The Digital Transformation degree track at Marymount provides knowledge in all facets of DX, from the technology itself (blockchain, data science, unified communication, etc.), to privacy and security issues, to the management and governance of the technology. This combination of technology and management of DX is unique to our program, with its focus on the real-world application of technology today. Students take four courses within the specialization and upon completion are prepared to meet the needs of evolving businesses and government agencies, and advanced technology.
If you are ready to set yourself apart as a highly valued information technology professional with the skill sets forward-thinking companies are seeking, check out our digital resource to learn more about this specialization or request more information about our program. We look forward to helping you start your next academic venture!