Today, the digital connections are endless. From your mobile phone to your smart watch and connected car, we are creating more digital connections than ever before. In fact, Intel estimates that we’ll have 200 billion Internet-connected things by 2030.

We can no longer deny it – this incredible explosion of digital is real and the ability to digitize and automate is transforming traditional business models quicker than ever before, while also disrupting industries. In fact, in a recent survey of global CEOs, 86% said they consider digital to be their number one priority and believe that technology will transform their business more than any other global trend.

It’s important for businesses – from the smallest startups to the largest enterprises – to understand how digital is impacting your industry and how your digital transformation priorities need to shift.

Start by asking yourself a few questions:

1 – How is my business being digitally transformed?

2 – How is my core business model being changed by digital technology?

3 – How vulnerable is my industry to a digital disruption? What’s my biggest threat?

To truly transform, irrespective of the industry you are in, you have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s about being truly interconnected – you can no longer solve problems in silos by looking at solutions that only address one challenge.

At Microsoft, we think about transformation across four key areas.

Engaging Customers

The power of delivering technology to the right people in the right way is driving business growth across many industries in Canada and around the world. As businesses digitally transform, the way they engage with customers is rapidly changing and the innovation they are seeing is nothing short of extraordinary.

Travel over to Italy’s largest grocery cooperative, and you might get the feeling you’ve stepped into a time machine. Coop, known as “the grocery store of the future” is using technology to create a human, informative and engaging experience for their customers. By giving shoppers this experience, they are creating new expectations and setting the bar somewhere we never imagined possible.

Empowering Employees

Employee empowerment is about more than just productivity – it’s about understanding how we use our time and maximizing the output of an entire workforce. The trouble that organizations often face is effectively measuring productivity without disrupting it.

Look at the example set by Kinetisense. Their vision has always been to open lines of communication between multiple health-related disciplines across the globe. By leveraging Azure and the Microsoft Cloud they’re able to do just that; provide tools for clinicians to be able to access data from clinics around the world. They can build on each other’s treatments, and ultimately help the patient.

Optimizing Operations

If you’ve ever handed over your credit card to a sales person, shopped online or via your smartphone, your digital payment has likely been managed by Moneris, one of the largest payment processors in North America. The flexibility of their offering and the speed and security of their payment processes are key to success for both the company and its customers.

To stay on top of business growth and demand for round-the-clock services, Moneris embarked on a digital transformation journey. The results? The company can now handle 600 financial transactions per second—approximately 50 million each day—with no data loss and continuously high levels of performance, security, and availability.

It’s this digital transformation that helps them maintain their competitive edge by optimizing their operations and helping them focus on what’s most important – building new features for their own products. Learn more about their story here.

Transforming Products

As we innovate and grow Microsoft’s products and services, we are inspired by the digital transformation happening among our partners and customers. The Missing Children’s Society of Canada (MCSC) is finding missing children and reuniting families across the country. The Microsoft Cloud, and specifically the Azure platform, allowed MCCS to transform their technology platform and connect the country, going from alerting just a million people when a child went missing to alerting over five million people within a few seconds. This technology is driving real impact in communities across Canada.

In short, implementing a digital strategy is fundamental to driving productivity and growth within your organization. The question is not ‘if’ but ‘how’ will your company take advantage of the new era of business transformation.

Find out how Microsoft and other industry leaders are providing innovative solutions to address your number one priority – digital transformation. Share your transformation story with us! We would love to hear from you.

What do you think? Will you disrupt or be disrupted in the coming year? Start your digital transformation journey today.