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Digital transformation (DX) and development process

Introduction

Currently, digital transformation (DX) is being promoted all over the world. Even in Japan, since the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry issued the report “DX Report-Overcoming the IT System” Cliff in 2025 “and Full-scale Development of DX-” (*), many companies have felt the need to take DX seriously. I am. However, not many people know its essence. Here we explain what DX is and how it relates to the development process.

digital transformation
digital transformation

What is Digital Transformation (DX)?

Digital transformation is abbreviated as DX and is defined as the concept that “the penetration of IT will change people’s lives for the better in every way.” This concept was proposed in 2004 by Professor Eric Stortermann of Umeå University in Sweden.

In Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry released the report introduced at the beginning and warned that if DX does not progress, there is a possibility of economic loss of up to 12 trillion yen per year after 2025. I came to take a bath.

Currently, many Japanese companies are embarking on the introduction of DX. The essence is to rebuild the structure of businesses and companies centered on IT.

digital transformation
digital transformation

Differences between conventional corporate IT and DX

The fashion mail order site ZOZOTOWN is often introduced as an example of DX. Since working on online shopping in 2000, ZOZOTOWN has achieved rapid growth centered on apparel sales.

Traditional apparel companies have physical stores, and it was natural for customers to try them on before purchasing. ZOZOTOWN, on the other hand, has made great strides by specializing in marketplaces that sell products from popular brands.

It was natural for conventional apparel makers to develop their clothes and shoes and sell them mainly at stores, but ZOZOTOWN does not do that and instead operates a server for a mail-order site centered on the cloud. It is placed in the center. This is a symbolic example of DX.

Many companies are deploying IT to streamline their traditional operations and are distinctly different from DX. Practicing DX means putting cutting-edge IT technology at the center of business and changing the form of the company and even the business model.

digital transformation
digital transformation

AI x IoT technology has become more important

The difference between DX and conventional digitalization is that AI and IoT are being actively introduced.

Furthermore, the accumulated customer data such as purchase history is analyzed using AI and machine learning and is utilized for improving services.

By using such a method, ZOZOTOWN overturned the common sense of the apparel industry.

The system development process in the DX era

To promote DX, it is necessary to change the system development. In the past, the waterfall-type development process of “requirements definition-> basic design-> detailed design-> test” was the center, but in DX, the development process that integrates the development and operation of the system called DevOps is the center.

DevOps is the idea that the person in charge of development (Development) and the person in charge of operations (Operations) cooperate to increase the value of the system.

The operation staff understands the customer’s needs and problems in the field and feeds them back to the development staff. The person in charge of development quickly adds or changes functions to the corresponding system.

As a result, the time to release is shorter and more frequent than with conventional system development, so agile development is the main development style. The reason is that to implement new features frequently in a short period, it is not enough to write detailed specifications each time.

An important factor in the DX era ・ What is PoC?

The next important factor is PoC. PoC is an abbreviation for the word Proof of Concept, which translates to “proof of concept” in Japanese. It refers to the verification of functions by prototype development to demonstrate new concepts, theories, principles, and ideas.

In the past, we conducted thorough interviews, made detailed designs, and then proceeded with development, but that may become obsolete by the time the system is completed.

However, in the DX era, the speed of business change will be dramatically faster than before, so we must respond more quickly to changes in society. Therefore, if you have an idea for improvement, try it, for the time being, adopt it as a function if it is good, and verify another idea if it is not good. This is PoC, a development style mainly used in AI and IoT.

Combining PoC with DevOps can dramatically speed up business improvement.

In conclusion

DX is, in a nutshell, a reorganization of society centered on digital. This change is already happening in every aspect of society, and people are required to change their mindsets. Developers are no exception. Rather, developers are required to recognize that “a new development method is needed in a new era.”

If you ever want to know about similar things, check out the Facebook page Maga Techs.

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