What is Digital Transformation?

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What is Digital Transformation?

Everyone is talking about it, but what is digital transformation? In a recent ITPro article, Zach Marzouk and Kylie Marshall cut through all the buzz and talk about the real practical benefits - and challenges - of digital transformation. Read on to get a great overview of digital transformation.

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The article "What is digital transformation?" explains that digital transformation is much more than buzz, but is the "process of using technology to radically change your business."  Rather than focus on a single IT project, "digital transformation describes a series of projects that, together, change every facet of an organisation, from back office operations to customer interactions, often with the end goal of making these different processes intrinsically linked."

Doing that means changing the way that people work, and challenging their assumptions and mindsets about their daily work processes and strategies. Although this can be a difficult transition, the article notes that doing this allows a business “to become more efficient, data-driven and nimble, taking advantage of more business opportunities.”

Why You Should Care About Digital Transformation

All this may sound abstract, but digital transformation offers big payoffs for companies who do it right. IDC says that digital transformation could add $18 trillion in business value worldwide. And a Gartner report, IT Market Clocks for 2016: Digital Transformation Demands Rapid IT Modernization, found that 66 percent of companies who are in the process of digital transformation expect to generate more revenue, and  48 percent believe additional business will be brought in via digital channels. As for other benefits, 40 percent of respondents to the Gartner survey said new digital tools will empower employees. Thirty nine percent said it will reduce costs.

What Technologies Companies Should Focus On

Companies have many different types of technologies, and they’re not all created equal. So the article recommends that companies adopt technologies that “that help them harness and make sense of the vast quantities of data they are sitting on, as well as preparing for trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile.”

At the top of the list are analytics and cloud computing, followed by “collaborative tools, like file-sharing, mobile devices, and apps, that let your employees work wherever they are, and which give them instant access to information -- especially useful for salespeople visiting customers, for instance.”

Designing the Right Digital Transformation Strategy

 The authors of the article note that key to the success of digital transformation is designing the right strategy. And they point to a report by Deloitte, “Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation,” which recommends that companies don’t look at technology as an end in itself, but rather a means of transforming your business.

They also cite Forrester analyst Ted Schadler in his report, titled “Take Two Technology Roads to Digital Experience Success,” as recommending that businesses give first priority to investments that benefit their customers and generate business value. After that, he says, companies should embark on two parallel paths, one of launching quick projects that can offer fast payoffs, and another of long-term transformation that takes longer to pay off.

The long-term path will ultimately have a bigger payoff. In this path, he says, "You will define, select, and implement a modern platform to deliver long-term agility and capabilities. The cloud is also your friend here: It's the future of digital experience platforms."

Need help with your Digital Transformation Strategy? Here are some resources to help you with your own organization's digital transformation:

 

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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