Transforming my mind to be more digitally aware… enabled… and agile!

In our Digital Transformation course ‘opening night’ last Wednesday, Professor Kane dually noted that the this course will be different, and it will likely take a couple weeks before we fully get in the groove.  Ironically enough, I have a similar sentiment with new technological advancements; at first, slightly confusing and non-intuitive, and a few weeks later, total immersion and ingrained in daily life.  Examples of lifechanging technology in my day to day include: the Iphone facial ID capability, Alteryx workflows, google search’s ability to finish my sentences, to name a few.  I’d guess after this course, twitter will be added to that list!  

There are a few key topic areas in which I’m eager to progress my knowledge in this course.  Some such objectives are directly related to furthering my professional capabilities and development; others are related to extracurricular interests. 

I think it’s safe to admit that throughout the last decade, the sheer volume of new digital technology in the market has been overwhelming at times.  My expectation of this course is that I’ll learn methods to remain agile among new advancements in technology and improve my acuity of the full technological landscape.  More specifically, I work in a global finance team, and last year I teamed on a big initiative to digitize and standardize our company’s global & local financial reporting.  My role on this project was to provide functional expertise on content inclusion, but I was also included in the selection of supporting technology.  Through this portion of the project, our group debated everything from data warehouse options (oracle or snowflake?) to visualization tools (power BI, tableau, or microstrategy?).  Selecting appropriate digital tools was a KEY strategic decision not only for this project, but also for the strategic direction of the finance organization.  As finance focused individuals, our team succumbed to relying heavily on our technology organization to guide us in tool decision making, as our project team lacked expertise in this area.  Through this workstream, I realized two things: first off, I was lacking in subject matter expertise with regard to the technical tool landscape.  Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I recognized that in a modern corporation, technological literacy is a key ingredient to success across all job roles, whether finance, HR, marketing, etc.  I look forward to improving my digital technology ‘literacy’ through the content in #8621.

Image 1: Learning and sharing technology literacy
Image 2: Training team members on new digitized reporting (in a non-digital environment, might I add!)

Further to enhancing my technology literacy and agility; I’m also hoping to learn what are the biggest non-technological factors that undermine technological advancement for organizations?  Through my experience with the workstream described above, by far the largest hurdle has been efforts to change our colleagues’ daily behaviors.  Completing a minimum viable product (MVP) took many weeks of work, but still a much larger effort has been spent on marketing the product, socialize with colleagues, and building trust in the new tool.  Are there shortcuts to achieving behavioral change in a large corporation, and how can I empower both myself and fellow team members to take risks with technology rather than feeling disrupted by it?  

Now onto the fun stuff: am I the only one that doesn’t fully understand the thrill of cryptocurrencies?  I’ve read articles, done research, conversed with friends on the topic, and I don’t quite understand it (see meme below for physical representation).  These cryptocurrencies are digital, created out of thin air, yet there claims to be only a finite amount.  How do we know the crypto ‘owners’ won’t one day decide to increase the number of available bitcoin?  Isn’t it suspect that there are new bitcoin-like currencies popping up all the time (bitcoin, Litecoin, now Dogecoin, etc.).  I understand the argument that cryptocurrencies are unregulated, but does that mean that if I were to go online and create a bunch of counterfeit coins, I could create a market for investors to buy and sell them…that’s quite a scary thought!  I’m looking to better understand various aspects of the crypto market, including why investors prefer to trade cryptocurrencies, the size of the overall market, and how they are regulated (if at all). 

Image 3: Cryptocurrency confusion!!

Lastly, the dark world of ‘fake news’ on social media sites is one of the topics we’ll cover in this course.  I’ve certainly felt the shift of social media platforms from socially focused content to daily news coverage and general activism in recent years.  While this shift in content isn’t all bad, there is a sizable portion of such content that perpetuates false information and undermines more reputable information sources.  What I’d like to learn is: how did we get here and how can we exist within this new reality without getting lost in all the minutia?  

Look forward to getting started!

2 comments

  1. I had a similar experience that the digital transformation in a company is a painful and prolonged process. One of the most complicated problems to solve during digital transformation is to change the work behavior and environment that people are used to be in. No one wants to walk out of the comfort zone, especially when everything works smoothly. As an initiator, not only you need to choose the correct product/solution/service in the digital transformation, but also you need to have a strong backbone to convince your workmates to take action and adapt to the new technology. From an article I have read, most digital transformation failure happens at the “who” level.

  2. Several have mentioned bitcoin in their opening posts. Maybe I should move that session up a bit! Looking forward to having you in the class!

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