What is digital transformation anyway?

There’s little question that digital transformation is one of the hottest topics going these days, driven by customer expectations for a better digital experience at all times. Yet, despite research from the Altimeter Group showing that 88 percent of organizations are undergoing digital transformation efforts, only a quarter of them articulated a clear understanding of what is meant by digital transformation.

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Organizations underdoing digital transformation efforts

Given that every organization takes a different view of its markets, uses different technologies and has different business processes, the technology steps and organizational changes necessary to achieve digital transformation are almost certainly going to be different as well. But from a strategic standpoint, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the end result digital transformation looks like – even if the implementation will vary greatly from one company to the next.

From our perspective, a great starting point is Altimeter’s definition that digital transformation is “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

One of the aspects we like about this definition is that is acknowledges that things have changed, and now it’s all about the customer.But simply spending money on marketing or social technologies, or adding touchpoints such as mobile, falls well short of digital transformation.

Keeping up with today’s dynamic customer landscape requires far more. In most cases, organizations need to fundamentally rewire their internal structures to be more aligned with customer needs and interests. It takes a deep understanding of the customer journey and how the customer’s needs and interests shift as the journey progresses. It also take organizational structures and technologies that are agile and adaptable to change. And in my opinion there is another important point that is often left out in these discussions: content. If you are engaging your customer you need something to engage them with, and that something is content.

In my next several posts, I will be taking a closer look at digital transformation drivers, technologies and strategies, all to help your business achieve truly transformative results.