Two Questions To Ask Before Kicking Off a Digital Transformation

Take a look around and you'll find plenty of articles on Digital Transformation by the media, consulting services, and software companies. A recent articles by Steven Andriole suggest that it is more than just business process re-engineering while Scott Anthony sites examples of one Bank CEO deciding to lead by example and learned to code a mobile app. Rubbish says the CMO. Digital Transformation is not about building apps or re-engineering process and more about improving customer experiences as a catalyst to organization change. Perhaps digital transformation is about pockets of innovation as Ron Miller suggests, or it's about transforming from an analog business model to digitally driven revenue and competing with digital disruption.

And that's just articles published over the last month! The graph below shows Google's Trend on the number of Digital Transformation illustrating the buzzword effect and everyone is writing about it.

Digital Transformation Search Frequency on Google

But what are we really talking about? Why is everyone talking about transformation? And how do you make sense of the cloud, SaaS, mobile, IoT, wearables, BigData, EFMs, CRM, Mobile, citizen development, and all the technologies being applied to digital transformation?

Demystifying Digital Transformation

I would suggest that digital transformation is all of these things and more. Here's my quote in a recent article by Gil Press on 5 Things To Do When Leading a Digital Transformation.
“Digital transformation is not just about technology and its implementation. It’s about looking at the business strategy through the lens of technical capabilities and how that changes how you are operating and generating revenues.” 
So Digital Transformation is an expansive set of changes that affects business models, organizational practices, customer experiences, new products and services, and operational practices. No wonder everyone is writing about what it is, it's catalysts, strategic implications, and implementation frameworks.

Perhaps an approach to understanding "digital" is to look at an existing business, product, or process and ask two questions:

  • What would a startup do to disrupt this business model, compete digitally with this product, or radically change the cost structure by implementing this process through automation? What would they do absent of legacy, physical constraints, and perhaps some regulation to compete or flank an existing model, product, or process?

  • How do you define your digital future? If this digital disruptor appeared, what would you have to become in order to better compete with them? What would your model, product, or process need to become and how you use existing assets as a competitive edge? 

If you can answer these two basic questions even with some fuzziness (no one has a perfect crystal ball), then digital transformation is the path you target (more on this in a follow up post) toward your digital future.

Sound simple enough? It's not. So for my next several posts I plan to cover a more practical "guide" to digital transformation. For now, consider reading my previous posts related to digital transformation.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Isaac,
    I'm sure you have stated some cool and realistic points over here regarding digital transmission. In this digital world everything is changing within a second or lesser. So it is obvious for a firm to observe the true factors that are good for their marketing strategy.

    Colan Infotech Reviews


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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.