Digital Transformation in action #helloeurope14

This week Orange Business host ‘hello! Europe’ in Madrid and the theme of the event is digital transformation in action. But what actually is digital transformation and what difference does it make to our working lives?

According to Wikipedia “Digital transformation refers to the changes associated with the application of  in all aspects of ”.  Business is the aspect of human society that we’re interested in and my own working life is a good example of the changes digital technology brings to the work place.

I’ve spent the last twenty years working as a journalist. The media, like most industries, has changed almost beyond recognition in the last two decades and it is digital technology that has driven this transformation.

“We want it now!” is the norm

When I started work as a sports journalist in motorcycle racing photographs were shot on analogue film and, although most of us hauled laptop computers around, filing copy was still done by telephone or even post! I can remember seeing photographers developing their films in the press room toilets and hearing the Daily Telegraph’s motor sports editor reading his handwritten copy to a typist over the telephone. Electronic publications didn’t exist so unless we worked at a daily paper we usually had a few days after each event to write and file our copy in time for publication.

Now, in the ever-connected age, all copy and photography is sent electronically and deadlines are usually immediate. “We want it now!” is the norm. Social media has, apparently, made journalists and reporters of us all and the photographer no longer has to pay for film or mess about in the toilets with a mobile processing lab! This is digital transformation at work.

the changes go even deeper

When the internet age began and publications started to move online, mobile and even fixed-line connectivity was still in its infancy. Data over mobile was almost unheard of and even the most nomadic workers were still reliant on a physical location, complete with a phone line and a power point. Now, with high-speed mobile data easily and cheaply available, the roving journalist can be almost anywhere and yet remain connected and able to send or receive information on the fly.

I work from my boat!

I’ve leveraged this ability to work from anywhere in the most wonderful way; by combining it with my passion for Britain’s Inland Waterways:  I work from my boat!

Last week, while navigating my way from the North to he South very slowly through mainly rural parts of Britain, I remained in close contact with my working world. Despite being in some places almost devoid of human activity there were very few times when I didn’t have both voice and data connections via my smartphone. This meant I could read and reply to emails, check the news on the internet and even hold video conference calls with collegues all over the world. Some see this always-connected nature of modern business as intrusive but I’d have to disagree. For me it’s a positive thing, because it also means I can keep in better contact with family and friends while away. It also allowed me to live-stream and watch an international football game, all despite being miles from my home on a boat moored in the middle of nowhere.  And, if you really don’t want to be disturbed, you can always turn your connected devices off!

This week in Madrid I’ll be talking to the delegates attending ‘hello! Europe’ and asking them for their stories on what digital transformation means to them. I’ll be posting their experiences, views and ideas here and welcome your views and stories on the subject of digital transformation – just leave a reply if you’ve got something to say about how digital technology has transformed the way you work.


Glenn Le Santo
Glenn Le Santo

Editor in Chief, International, at Orange Business. I'm in charge of our International website and the English language blogs at Orange Business. In my spare time I'm literally captain of my own ship, spending my time on the wonderful rivers and canals of England.