Much like IoT, AI and Big Data, Digital Transformation is the latest hot topic that all LinkedIn articles are legally required to mention in 2019. But what is it, where is it going and my god, when will it end?
As a journalist (be quiet), it’s my job to find out the answer to these questions and share them with the laymen AKA you. The problem is that I’m struggling to lock down an answer because there’s so much jargon corrupting my LinkedIn feed.
On one hand, you have The Enterprise Project saying that “Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.” Whilst ZDNet plump for “the idea is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service in a digital form, but to use technology to transform that service into something significantly better.”
Either way, I’m confused – and this is a problem because Gartner is reporting that CIOs biggest priority over the next two years, outside of growing market share (28%), is the adoption of digital transformation (14%). This is significantly more than New Products & Services (10%), Security (8%) and Customer Focus (8%). Essentially it’s a big deal and should not be taken lightly. Just listen to Cisco Executive John Chambers take on the subject:
“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies”.
Jeepers! Spare a thought then for the casual IT manager, who only got into the business because they got an Amiga instead of a Playstation for Christmas when they were a kid. These poor souls are now expected to come up with and implement a top tier ROI shredding digital transformation strategy and need it done yesterday lest they are forcibly removed from the business and buried under a pile of legacy equipment.
As honourable as a death that is for an IT manager, how are they meant to hit digital transformation KPIs when it’s hard to pin down what it is?
As a little exercise, I asked the bloke across the table what he thought Digital Transformation was and he said confidently that “it’s the process of moving around efficiently in a virtual reality environment”. Granted he thought I said, “Digital Teleportation” but that’s not the point, he’s not even a real bloke, I made him up so who’s stupid now?
The truth is that technology innovation is rarely a waste and should be embraced with open arms. Don’t stick your head in the sand and end up the next Blockbuster, who were offered to buy Netflix for £50m back in the early 2000s. They ultimately decided against the decision, calling Netflix “too niche”. Netflix is now worth £4b yet Blockbuster has just one store remaining in Oregon, America. Don’t all point your fingers though, at the time Netflix was losing money and ‘management’ simply won the battle against ‘vision’. The key, I guess, is to have a bit of both in the strategy.
This isn’t the first time a business has missed out on an insane opportunity. It’s actually more common than you think. For example, Verizon turned down Apple’s first model of the iPhone, Friendster said “No” to Google and Comast ditched Disney. Can you imagine how different the digital landscape and entertainment industry might look if Friendster had acquired Google? Can you even imagine?!
My advice for IT managers is to run for the hills! But actually, that’s not my advice at all. Digital transformation is an exciting movement for our industry that promises to change the way we work with more efficient tools designed to makes life easier and businesses more profitable. I know that sounds like more jargon but let’s strip it back further. It’s just cloud stuff, really. Like the stuff in the cloud. Stuff that wasn’t in the cloud, is now in the cloud.
For more on digital transformation, check out our “squeezed middle” theory, or why not look at our cloud migration checklist that every IT manager needs. Still bored? We’ve also been published on UCToday with Is it the End of the Line for Desk Phones? so go on, check it out!
Author: Dan Pope