Since my Boss Just Asked Me… What is Digital Transformation?

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  • 10/5/2017

    The idea of digital transformation has been around for a little while, but has picked up steam as more organizations adopt a transformational plan as to how to use digital methods to evolve their business. Broadly speaking, Wikipedia defines it as, “The change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”

    The societal changes that are occurring because of digital technology includes several converging factors: mobile, social, big data, ubiquitous internet access, e-commerce and disruptive business models. We look at these factors from the organizational point of view and define digital transformation this way, “Digital transformation is the act of evolving existing communications, promotion, systems and processes to be ready to deliver on the expectations and possibilities of a modern organization.”

    Transformation has been taking place for years as the internet has impacted every industry by now. This increasing convergence of factors and speed of change is causing organizations to put more effort into their digital transformation efforts.


     
    But what if we’re not thinking about digital transformation?

    Take some quick solace, as you’re not alone. According to the McKinsey Global Institute the U.S. economy operates at only 18% of its digital potential and the sort of productivity gains that digital technologies should be enabling are not showing up in the broader economy. This means that transformation for most companies is still at an early stage but the potential is enormous.

    Transformation is not a project

    Organizations typically iterate how they operate over time. Paper forms become digital, advertising budgets slowly move to the web and customer data centralizes. The pace at which you “become digital” versus “do digital” depends on culture, customer demands and competitive set. The need to bridge this gap and truly start to digitally transform comes down to one word: change. Can you change fast enough to stay competitive with those who are evolving to keep and gain market share, keep new competition at bay, cut costs, find efficiencies and most importantly meet customer expectations?

    So, whatever your boss calls it, digital transformation, digital Darwinism, digital determinism, disruption, convergence, DX, etc., know that it’s happening to every organization. There is no right way to transform other than to strategize on the outcomes desired and then create your plans accordingly. When organizations focus less on the technology and more on what it enables, you will drop the ad hoc approach of doing digital and start being more digitally driven and ready to win.

    Ready to get started with your digital transformation strategy? Keep tabs on upcoming digital marketing trends and topics—bookmark our resources page.
    About the author::Jason Therrien is the president of thunder::tech. He is a fan of entrepreneurs and trailblazers, a proud dad and he liked scotch before Mad Men made it cool.
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