Blockchain, big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence have been on the radar of private fund managers for some time. KPMG International and CREATE-Research (together, the Authors) recently conducted a study in which they explored how alternative investment managers are approaching the digital age. This two-part series summarizes the key findings from the study and includes insights from Professor Amin Rajan, chief executive of CREATE-Research and one of the authors of the study. This first article examines digitization as a disrupter in the alternative investment industry and its anticipated effects; seven drivers of digitization; and key factors that are likely to affect the pace of digitization. The second article will discuss how both hedge and private equity fund managers are currently implementing digital innovations into their businesses, including the types of digital technologies they have adopted, and how alternative investment managers can move toward a more digital environment. For recent insights from KPMG on how technology is transforming the alternative investment industry, see “Private Fund Advisers and Service Providers Must Evolve Their Businesses to Keep Pace With Innovations in Technology, or Risk Becoming Obsolete” (Jan. 18, 2018).