Definition of Digital
From a strictly technical viewpoint, a quick Google search yields the following definitions:
(Of signals or data) expressed as series of the digits 0 and 1, typically represented by values of a physical quantity such as voltage or magnetic polarization.
Obviously, digital means much more, but we know that it has something to do with computers and contrasts its opposite, analog, where a Google search yields the following definition:
Relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position or voltage.
In essence, the difference between analog and digital is that analog is physical in nature, while digital presents the physical phenomena in digits – combinations of 0 and 1.
The Virtual World and Digital
Digital has made the virtual world possible. Where analog technology made a great deal possible in terms of modeling, understanding and harnessing technology, digital puts all of that on steroids and goes way beyond. By separating information from its physical manifestation, digital has created the virtual world.
Hence, it is that we leverage virtual possibilities in the following ways:
- We can share and distribute business documents, pictures and videos nearly instantaneously and therefore create virtual sharing spaces where personal and institutional communities live around those shared documents.
- The power of digital enables us to create virtual models of the physical environment rapidly, so that we can share and collaborate on our ideas and concepts long before ever making them physical.
- Like with the virtual workforce, we do not always need to be physically present since digital technology enables us to do a large amount of what we could do by being physically present, but without the time and cost of getting there physically.
Digital and Disruption
Each of these changes represents new possibilities emanating from digital technology. These changes have disrupted the way we do things and in the process, disrupted entire industries.
Consider the following:
- Newspaper consumption has largely shifted from physical to digital, changing the way these items are delivered, how companies are staffed, how the companies earn their revenue, how people are paid, and how and what readers consume.
- The digital battlefield did not exist a while back. However, today, the capability to monitor and act based on tracking of friendly and enemy movements has changed drastically – and the skills required to do so have evolved.
- In the financial investment world, having the best systems for gaining insights from data, doing so in real time, and having the ability to act immediately has transformed the skills sets required in the industry much more to digital.
Digital and Project Management
Digital technology has transformed the world in many ways, changing the way things are done and what is possible. How has digital transformed your world? What about your world in the project management profession?
The second post of this four post series explores digital project management.