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Definition: digital transformation


An umbrella term for the application of computer technologies to everyday life. Digital transformation actually began in the 1960s; however, when the Web exploded after the turn of the century, so many processes were moved to Internet-based datacenters that digital transformation has affected everyone. It also altered the way people think about and do business, as the virtual nature of computing services sometimes conflicts with traditional approaches. See New Economy, creative destruction and technology gap.

COVID-19 Digital Transformation
With half the population staying at home, the Coronavirus pandemic dramatically fueled digital transformation. Replacing the physical office and classroom, video meetings soared. For employees who enjoy working at home, it was quite a bonus to not spend hours a week commuting to an office. Doctors' visits became virtual for minor illnesses (see telehealth).

If companies with a huge number of employees working at home found that their final product was just as good as or almost as good as before, the decision to reduce physical office facilities and save on rent would also seem to be a huge advantage. Time will tell, but 2020 and 2021 may have been the biggest years for digital transformation since the advent of the Internet. The lasting effects of this sea change are expected to exist for a long time.