Blog 1: Expectations, Interests…

TL;DR

  • I am excited, but cautiously optimistic about this class,
  • I am interested to learn what others think digital transformation means to them,
  • I am hopeful to learn from different perspectives what it means to transform in a digital age,
  • I am passionate about using the application of technology to solve for business needs,
  • My overall goal is to someday start my own company, hopefully not as plagued with misfortunes as Pied Piper, but something that I can build and call my own.

What is this?

Different…that was a word that got used a lot this past class…different. And while I’m not being a skeptic, I’m very curious as to how this class will not only be different, but will also be useful and impactful on my MBA journey. Digital Transformation to me is a vast topic that holds different truths for different companies and use cases. This past summer I acted as a consultant for a large technology company to help transform partners’ technology ecosystems. Whether that mean deploying AI/ML solutions, coding an advanced and democratized billing architecture, or using IaC (infrastructure as code, Terraform) to automate security requirements on top of a cloud environment, we helped transform pieces of their businesses to be a more efficient company. My first impression as it relates to the class and Digital Transformation is that there is a heavy usage on Twitter and Blogs…resources I would not have necessarily thought meant Digital Transformation at this point in our society. I think the skill sets of social media are ubiquitous across companies and while there can be a competitive advantage in how well you market via social media, I don’t think that for companies we will potentially be part of are looking to social media to be a game changer.

What I want this class to be…

Harvard Business Review explains that there are four key elements to Digital Transformation: Technology, Data, Process, and Organizational Change which do not exist in silo’d, isolated domains. I hope that this class touches on current and future technological innovations that are changing and will change the way we conduct business. I hope this class brings in ideas that I never knew about or are not even fully fleshed out yet but could be disruptions over the coming decades. I hope this class dives deep into the process of introduction technological changes and how to incorporate those changes into a company’s culture. I also hope that we tie all of the different elements together to show how these technologies work together with culture, business objectives, and teams to help drive business performance. Additionally, while digital transformation seems the way all companies are going, it is important to take into considerations the risks and in that I hope we discuss the risks of technology, the increasing threat of cyber security attacks, and how digital transformation may not be right for every company.

Whether these technologies modernize infrastructure, better manage huge amounts of data, gain insights from data, break down team silos, revolutionize business, or help realize cost savings, digital transformation is how companies transform their business and propel their industries.

No doubt COVID-19 will be a recurring topic throughout class. A McKinsey study found that COVID-19 has “…sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years, and that many of these changes could be here for the long haul.” As we continue to evolve in this era of digital disruption, we also need to make sure regulations stay up to date with technology. Before many of the biggest economic crises in history there are have been amazing transformations within an industry. Regulation in automation (automobile industry), financial technology (application of blockchain), and even exploration (Space Force, SpaceX, Virgin…etc) will be extremely important to ensure fair access to and healthy adoption to these technologies as they become available. Understanding digital transformation will be an essential component for managers of these areas.

Interests

Personally, I have always been focused on finding ways to implement technology to make life, business, or hobbies easier and more enjoyable. Whether through automation, decreasing over head and costs, or advancing a product’s capabilities, I love finding ways to use technology to make life more enjoyable. Some projects I have worked on in the past that I’d love to talk more about to anyone who is interested:

  • Data Integrity Automation: military application used to detect unhealthy data in a .mil system; program automatically found errors, hyperlinked back to input data source and sent email to the individual to correct the data
  • Paycheck Protection Program application: during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of other startup founders came together to build a platform to quickly process individual applications through APIs and proprietary software. As a group of ~30 we ended up using technology to process over 1,000 PPP applications and fund over $200m in PPP loans.
  • FedRAMP security control compliance automation using Terraform (IaC) for a top-3 Cloud Service Provider.
  • Twitter bot to automatically post, reply, and retweet certain topics, hashtags,

Eventually I want to crate my own company and go full on entrepreneur. Until then, I am hoping to work with companies who are helping transform the digital landscape.

Overall

I am excited but cautiously optimistic about this class. I know we will use this blog to look back on our experience at the end of the semester, so I will give my honest opinion of what I think about what I know of this class to give an appropriate benchmark in four months. I am interested in learning more from my classmates and am interested to learn what digital transformation means to my classmates, the professor, and the guest speakers that will be joining the class.

I am also not much of a Twitter or Blogger, so using those two mediums could be interesting as well. Okay. See you in class.

4 comments

  1. I think your post answers your own question about the class. This class is not different in that it uses blogs/ twitter, but that it uses these (admittedly older) technologies to create processes that are different from (almost) any other classes you take. I say almost, because some colleagues have adopted some of my methods in their own teaching, but none quite to the extreme that we do in here.

  2. Great post, Brett. I enjoyed your specific examples of digital transformation (I didn’t know about the PPP and startups) as well your more general points. You mentioned how you are interested in how tech can make life, business, and hobbies easier and more enjoyable. What do you think of the trade-offs that individuals and companies make when implementing technology? (example: data collection and privacy)

  3. I was glad to see your interest in automation. I’d love to discuss with you its social and political second and third order effects. If you are taking requests, write a blog post laying these out to setup for a discussion on UBI, the wealth gap, and social unrest.

    1. These are exactly the types of questions we’ll get to in this class.

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