Digital transformation

Digital transformation is everywhere.  There are blogs dedicated to it.  Companies like Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Accenture, Forrester, Deloitte and EY have all published articles, surveys and commentaries about it.  But what actually is it?

Although definitions of Digital Transformation differ between companies, executives, industries and sectors, the common thread seems to be:

“Digital transformation uses technology as a means, not an end.” – Forbes

And, for a working definition:

“Digital transformation is capitalising on the power of technology to revisit business models, acquire customers through new channels and create essential user experiences.” – EY

Of all the definitions I’ve seen, and there are many, this is one of the best.

Why?

Because at the core of it lies the real business objective: Acquire customers through new channels.

And that’s where the technology comes in, because “new channels” tends to mean via the cloud, through an app, on your mobile device, at home, while on a bus, etc.

But, and here’s the thing, you can’t just elbow in new technology and boom – announce to the world that you can now make a mid term adjustment on your Apple Watch.

It doesn’t work like that.

Before you can new technology to acquire customers through new channels, you need to revisit your business models.

And what does that mean?

It means revaluating your goals and objectives, building a Target Operating Model for your new way of life, mapping out and prioritising change initiatives, at a portfolio level, and starting on a journey to deliver organisational change, process change, technology change, cultural change and – hopefully – fortune change.

So the Digital Transformation is not driven by the technology, per se, it’s driven by the company’s desire to acquire customers through new channels.

Why?

Because there is a perception that improving the ease with which a company’s customers can do business with them, making doing business more convenient, more joined up with other related products and services (in other words creating essential user experiences) – will be the discriminating factor in the (very) near future.

And, as such, a potentially large, untapped market to boot.

So really, you can’t do a Digital Transformation without doing a normal, run of the mill, standard business transformation.

And a Business Transformation, let’s face it, is Business As Usual (BAU) to a Change team.

It’s what we do.

We just need to remember that “Digital Transformation” is not just about the technology.

Far from it.

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