Digital Transformation is a well-established and accepted industry term. While it would probably be challenging to establish an exact date when the term hit critical mass, the usage seems to have expanded with the increasing number of enterprise organizations moving to the cloud over the last 7+ years.
So, what exactly is Digital Transformation, and why is it important?
There are many descriptions and definitions out there; let’s take a look.
A quick web search yields several practical thoughts from familiar names:
- Oracle: “..digital transformation makes it possible to reimagine how you use your technology, people, and processes to move your business forward in new ways.”
- Salesforce: “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.”
- CIO Magazine: “Digital Transformation is application of digital capabilities to processes, products, and assets to improve efficiency, enhance customer value, manage risk, and uncover new monetization opportunities.”
To be honest, there is not much to disagree with overall, but the definitions may leave you wanting for two reasons:
- The definitions are not 100% clear that Digital Transformation is continuous – a never-ending cycle of improvement where digital information is assimilated, analyzed, assembled, and ultimately routed for appropriate disposal. However, some of the latest commentaries on Digital Transformation seems to be coming around to this concept. For example, a recent article on eWeek cites Redhat’s definition:
“DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS THE INTEGRATION OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY INTO ALL AREAS OF A BUSINESS, FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGING HOW YOU OPERATE AND DELIVER VALUE TO CUSTOMERS. IT’S ALSO A CULTURAL CHANGE THAT REQUIRES ORGANIZATIONS TO CONTINUALLY CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO, EXPERIMENT, AND GET COMFORTABLE WITH FAILURE.”
which brings us to the second point…
- The definitions lack an elegant simplicity. As Leonardo da Vinci purportedly said, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” Ironically, the same eWeek article does offer a much more simplistic definition of Digital Transformation.
“Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology that has the capability to transform the business.”
While I think this checks the box on simplicity, see point #1.
So let’s start over.
What is Digital Transformation? Or Enterprise Digital Transformation? Or Digital Business Transformation?
Digital Transformation is a continuous realignment of electronically stored data and related processes to maximize business outcomes.
Defining Digital Transformation tends to be rather parabolic. So instead of getting caught up in an array of source-driven definitions, it might be better to focus on identifying the core drivers for Enterprise Digital Transformation and align offerings and solutions within that construct.
If you'd like to find out more about bringing cloudficiency to your project, reach out to us.
A Three-sided Approach to Defining Digital Transformation
One method to help facilitate further discussion is the idea pictured below which focuses on three fundamental drivers of Digital Transformation within the enterprise.
Front-end, or customer-facing, processes focus on analyzing and boosting the overall customer experience – ultimately giving customers what they want faster. Examples of Digital Transformation in this area commonly address streamlining access to historical interactions, personalizing future interactions to maximize mutual benefit, delighting wherever possible through incessant automation, and ultimately providing customers a dependable experience that builds trust.
Back-end, or workforce specific, processes focus on optimizing collaboration and knowledge access – enabling the organization to adapt and make decisions faster. Examples of Digital Transformation in this area focus on enabling the workforce for the future through leveraging the latest communications and collaboration platforms as well as facilitating proper training on the latest processes.
As the construct would indicate, there certainly may be overlaps between Front-end and Back-end processes regarding Digital Transformation – how much will no doubt vary from the process in question along with each organization. One relatively consistent element is the need to support these continuous changes with systems that provide the right level of analysis to measure performance along with technologies to facilitate the movement of data as new technology platforms are selected.
Facilitating a Restructuring event brings an array of new challenges. Whether the organization is going through a merger, acquisition, divestiture or just performing internal restructuring, a digital transformation exercise will impact the parties involved. In a large organization, this activity might seem like it’s constantly happening; even if that is the situation, it is likely that it will involve different elements of the organization on each activity. Some organizations go through so many of these changes that they develop a transformation strategy forming a roadmap for some of the common activities that take place during restructuring.
One thing is clear, the concept of Digital Transformation is broad and may refer to different initiatives at different times within the same organization or across different organizations.
What is also clear is that this continual digital transformation in large organizations shows no signs that it will slow down. In fact, the opposite is true; constant change, constant innovation and continual digital transformation is happening at an increasing cadence in large organizations.
Why is the Speed of Digital Transformation Increasing?
When we work with large customers who are working through enterprise digital transformation projects it’s clear why the cadence of these type of activities is increasing – customers are always looking for an edge.
Large organizations are constantly trying to gain an advantage in their market over their competitors and Digital Transformation is at the heart of many initiatives that organizations have running. Getting that ‘edge’ can mean the difference for an organization of large profits, or heavy losses.
Another thing that customers tell us is that when they perform data transformation projects one of the critical factors which influences the chosen target is flexibility. Customers don’t want to be tied into proprietary technologies with either no easy way out, or a very costly and time consuming way out.
At Cloudficient, we put customers in charge of their data. Take a look at Expireon. Customers told us that they wanted data in native format that is easy to access, analyze, expire and if needed, transform to another system or platform in the future. This is exactly what Expireon does, and for large customers the return on investment (ROI) of a solution like Expireon is eye-opening.
It’s clear that enterprise digital transformation activities within organizations will continue at an increasing pace for years to come.
Enterprise sized customers generate data at a staggering rate. When they start to think about how they will access, analyze and store this information in the future, it can be overwhelming. We help by giving them Digital Transformation solutions that are cost-effective now while providing the flexibility for their organization to change as needed.
If you need additional information on our solutions or would like us to get started designing your own ROI-driven cloud strategy contact us today!
With unmatched next generation Digital Transformation and migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.
If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your project, visit our website, or contact us.