Focus on

Focus on


Managers ought to consider all the possibilities of Digital Transformation. It’s not only a matter of more revenue or less waste, but also new working methods and management approaches.

Managers have to consider what is already available (services, processes, programs, projects and people) when applying Digital Transformation: it is not always possible to “buy” every new technology or data needed, nor to hire every new necessary skill. Instead, it is possible to use Open Data and to share data and use cases, so it’s not necessary to start every use case from scratch.

Products and services life cycle should be considered holistically: products are often just tools to interact with users. Creating value for the stakeholders means not only thinking about the immediate revenue of a product or service, but about the connection being made with customers and users in the long-term. This relationship will bring more profit than any outcome in the short-term.

Example: some car brands find it more profitable to focus on the regular maintenance service –which starts right after selling the product itself–. In this market, we find the most expensive maintenance hourly rate, while the product sale price is the cheapest

Products and services have to be kept as simple and practical as possible: users are no longer ready to read the “user manual” in order to learn how to use what they’ve bought; they expect to enjoy the full value of the product or service as soon as they pay for it –with the highest availability, continuity, security and capability–.

Considering the cloud as the new standard platform, continuity and capability can be automated: a system can now learn when is it necessary to apply more resources just when they are going to be needed (example: when some heavy processing activity is going to take on a new data set); or can learn how to recover from an incident (example: what to do when some node fails, or some communication link doesn’t work as expected) without human intervention, and, therefore, with no additional delay.

  • Digital Transformation is a never-ending process, which means companies should improve their assets continually:
  • Products: improving usability, functionality, scope…
  • Services: delivering better service availability, security, continuity or capacity.
  • Service components: taking advantage of new technical solutions like 5G, or quantum computing, in the near future.
  • People: not only hiring new people, but training current employees.
  • Practices: new Agile approaches, methodologies and known successful frameworks…
    • All of them encourage working iteratively and using feedback before, during and after each iteration.
    • It is better lo learn and apply improvements in the current project, not only for the next
  • Relationships: sharing data and use cases with new partners, saves costs and development time.
    • The approach is to collaborate and make work transparent.
    • The more we know about our partner’s development, the more we can use it to improve our own use cases.
    • In short, win-win relationships.
  • Not only professionals but also society at large should to learn to speak data as a new second language: “speak data” starts by learning the basic terms and key concepts.
  • Three key data vocabulary areas are:
  • Value: employees must understand the need to coordinate results from different sources to provide value.
    • There is no final value for the user if he/she wants to enjoy Internet on the phone but doesn’t have a phone or it doesn’t have data connectivity.
  • Information: raw data doesn’t have any meaning by itself, as it depends on the context, data type and it’s not understandable by a person.
    • What people really need is information…
    • Example: geographic areas where sales ratios are changing, not only never-ending transaction data (every single transaction is called a “fact”, which is a short for “interesting fact”).
  • Analytics: information is necessary to make decisions…
  • but it’s not enough:
  • If sales ratios are changing, are they growing or decreasing?
  • Is it decreasing at the same pace in every place?
  • What are the variables on which sales depend?
  • Can we make a decision to impact on those variables?
  • The importance of speaking dialects
  • Different industries should use dialects that contribute to their customer experience. Businesses, customers and vendors, should learn relevant dialects to discuss and use data in order to achieve their goals.
  • Examples of dialects:
  • Industry: IoT, sensorization, robotization, predictive maintenance, real-time…
  • Marketing: social media, Natural Language Processing, customer experience, user experience…
  • Once you recognize the importance of data language and the need for a common dialect across your company, make data language a part of your management and organizational strategy.

Firms should notice that the 5.0 revolution is happening at the same time that they adopt the principles of Industry 4.0. Society 5.0 is not new but an upgrade and the actual realization of Industry 4.0: Society 5.0 incorporates Industry 4.0 innovations to the daily life of the population.

The widely used “Smart City” expression implies that technological applications are used to manage cities. But what we see is that technology changes how people think and behave, not only how cities people live in look and function outwardly.

Japan as a use case for Society 5.0

Japan is the first country talking seriously about achieving a “super-smart” society, which is much more than the mere sum of its citizens:

  • Job mobility will be heavily promoted to create an environment where every person can play a lively and active part.
  • Inclusivity: making people over 65 ready to participate, as they are one of the largest population groups in many “digitalized” (advanced) countries.
  • Diversified and flexible ways of working are now increasingly accepted: remote working, flexible work schedules or target-based salaries.

Considering, for example, cashless payments, Society 5.0 is expected to generalize the use of blockchain, and according to the Japan Business Federation, Society 5.0 will rely on Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Big Data, and the Internet of Everything (IoE).


  • Universities can change their role in the knowledge economy through online learning.
    • FutureLearn partners with 25% of the world’s top 200 universities, who say that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been a catalyst for digital transformation.
    • FutureLearn’s found out that:
      • 73% of them consider online learning to promote and hire staff.
      • 80% of them would pay for the employees to take online learning.
    • Today’s kindergartners are digital native: they will know and use technologya lot before they are adults.
    • The number of jobs not related with technology will decrease and the workforce will shift, so students need to be prepared:
      • We need to adopt new teaching techniques for K-12 students (under 19) to be ready for the technology of the future.
    • Teacher education has to improve, including how to use technology:
      • How Artificial Intelligence may help.
      • Digital libraries.
      • Advantages and possibilities of technological gadgets like digital whiteboards, virtual classrooms…
      • Minimizing the use of paper.
    • Future education will be based on learning to learn: technology brings students an open window to almost infinite resources
      • So the point of view is teaching them to look for subjects
      • More than lecture them on those particular subjects.
    • Schools with socially excluded and special needs students can digitalize the necessary data so it’s easier to send the required information to the right party safely and securely.
    • New rules are coming out, where security is included and people can ask for their personal information…
      • So teaching institutions will have to adapt to this new era.
    • Schools are digitalizing information, to save time and help them with some duties. Example:
      • Checking what students learn and if they meet expectations through an assessment framework.
      • This assessment may be carried out with rubric-based systems, helping in the automation of tasks and providing data –like students’ participation, tests results–…
    • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach is becoming more popular among the innovator’s ecosystem.
    • Gamification as a method is becoming more valued by teachers and the “Edtech” industry.
    • Education’s content has to be adapted to the student profile, performance and learning pace.
    • In the next years, children will be more engaged in the studying process: by being taught what they are interested in.
    • The institutional perspective will be established as a function of data:
      • Analysis will be made through reviewing current accomplishments along with the procedural planning needed to achieve goals.
  • Educational technology facilitates teachers’ work and contributes to comfortable communication between teachers and students.
  • E-learning provides flexibility by allowing students to access online training through platforms.
  • The cloud provides a quick and convenient access to content independently of time or place.
  • Virtual learning environments are changing the status-quo of the education industry in significant ways:
  • Saving displacement costs.
  • Anytime, anywhere.
  • Online schools can offer remote on-site” training classes. The student will obtain the benefits and feel the same way that being with the teacher on-site, while remaining at its own home or office.
  • The student:
    • Is more self-sufficient: he/she can access a wider range of materials.
    • Will benefit from the fact that libraries have digitizing every reference. Examples:
      • World Digital Library: UNESCO initiative with materials from all cultures in a multiplicity of languages.
      • The European Library: it brings together 48 national libraries in Europe and the most important European research libraries.
      • Europeana Collections: co-financed by the European Union to display works of art, objects, books, videos and sounds from all over the continent.
      • OEI digital library: specializes in the topics of education, science, technology, society & innovation and culture in South America.
      • Athena: focuses on French literature, along with databases on minerals, chemistry and Earth sciences.
      • The British Library: digital collections on different parts of the world, including maps, manuscripts, scores and media.
    • Develops his/her creativity and devotes his/her energy to reflecting instead of memorizing.
  • Methodologies can be personalized to the student’s availability, schedule and favorite format: video, audio, text…
  • Learn through analyzing practical cases of real life, more than theoretical contents.
  • Digital Transformation in higher education can be started with a simple step (creating an e-learning platform) and then developed it into IoT and AI:
  • Example: Deakin University employs IBM’s Watson (which can answer over 1,600 questions in real-time) to assist their first-year students.
  • E-learning services create digital education products (videos, digital texts and quizzes) that enable digital communication between students and teachers.
  • Educational institutions operations are being digitalized (students’ admission, examinations, etc.) and are supporting such services as scheduling, study planning, teacher allocation, etc.
  • Platforms like YouTube, Google and Facebook are widely used:
    • Students want learning experiences to be adapted to them and to be consumed whenever and wherever they want.
  • IT solutions in campuses and classrooms will make education equal and accessible for every student:
    • Example: disabled people or students with vision or hearing problems.
  • Digital identity technologies are utterly important for Digital Transformation in education, as they help to:
    • Access networks and platforms securely.
    • Avoid fraud and identity theft that could damage the institution’s reputation.
    • Sign documents with digital signature thus meeting compliance requirements.
    • Keep personal and electronic device’s data secure through encryption.
    • Automate authentication across platforms.
  • Machine learning (ML) is expected to:
    • Help students measure and predict their talents and choose a learning path
    • Help teachers estimate and monitor pupils’ performances and progress.
  • Why should universities use Big Data?
    • The University Innovation Alliance in the USA analyzed data from 30,000 students of Georgia State University to build a model with over 800 variables to identify students with the highest probability of dropping out.
    • As a result, Georgia State University saved students 15 mill $ in tuition, by adjusting their curriculum.
    • For every percentage point increase in student retention, Georgia State makes about 3 mill $ more (ROI: Return on Investment).
    • Arizona State University analyzed large raw data to help students understand mathematics:
      • Success rate went from 65% to 85%.

Sources: The above text is a creative synthesis elaborated from the following sources:  Isabel Sagenmüller ( / vintegrisTECH; Nigel Smith (Information Age); Peter Richardson (Open Access Government); Bambi Majumdar (Multibriefs); Michal Lisewski (; Danylo Fedirko (

These sources have been selected from a total of 24 articles on the subject matter. Which in turn are the result of sifting through 115 articles.