Digital Transformation is Absolutely Important in a Volatile COVID-19 World

StarCIO Digital Transformation COVID-19
Should COVID-19 start, slow down, or pivot your digital transformation strategy?

The answer is yes, but it depends on how your organization defines digital transformation and where it is in its journey.

There's a running joke floating on social media, "What started your organization's digital transformation," and the answer circled is "COVID-19."

Hopefully, your organization started it's digital transformation long before COVID-19.

The Strategic Answer to What is Digital Transformation

Is your organization adapting its business model, renewing its views on target markets, finding innovative ways to improve customer experiences, leveraging analytics or machine learning as part of becoming a data-driven organization, and deploying new citizen-capable technologies to the workforce?

Those are the strategic elements of a digital transformation. In fact, in my book Driving Digital, I define 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." -- Isaac Sacolick

In my definition, technology is a driver, an enabler, and a differentiator. But transforming requires changes to the business operating model and with an eye toward growth.

And not just technology in its commoditized definition. I'm also referring to analytics, customer experience, and innovation.

When I use the word "lens," I'm referring to culture, values, and collaborative practices.

Transforming because of COVID-19 and Remote Work

So if we put digital transformation definition through a COVID-19 and remote working lens, digital transformation is not about the technologies that CIOs deployed to enable it. In other words, it's not about whether everyone received laptops, that the VPN had sufficient capacity, that employees were educated on securing their home networks, or that everyone had access to collaboration tools.

That's the technology! That's executing a business continuity plan. That's not digital transformation. To be transformational, consider:

There's one thing you'll notice in these considerations that I mentioned in the 5 Minutes with NYIke episode on What is Digital Transformation? All but the last one is bottoms-up feedback. It's feedback and actions from developers, engineers, product managers, data scientists, marketers, salespeople in how they are listening, learning, and adapting.

So this is a good segway to Episode 6 on Why Transformations Fail:

StarCIO is here to help organizational leaders through transformation and digital ways of working. If you want to chat about this, please reach out to me! 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for this great post. Transformation in many ways should take place since remote work will stay after the crisis is gone for many companies. I say the base for this is great ISP and from what we have experienced lately some places are in serious need of new infrastructure for the ISPs to offer better services. I personally tend to compare ISPs and track for outages using outage sites( and try to choose the best one. Once we eliminate outages due to overwhelmed services we can discuss the digital improvement and great remote work experience and advancement.
    Thanks again for sharing this info!


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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.