Digital Transformation is not a technology or service that you can purchase. It is a term to describe a mixture of new technologies and cultural changes to break with traditional business practices. Digital Transformation is a once in a lifetime technology shift that will likely transform all walks of life.
I’ll be honest; I’d not heard about the term Digital Transformation until the start of the year. Although the more I read, the more I recognised the characteristics and the concepts associated with it. You’ve likely heard many of the ideas too!
Microsoft talks about Digital Transformation as:-
Maybe above Dunedin IT pay grade, but our take is that the coming together of technology allows the opportunity for culture changes to challenge businesses.
“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”
George Westerman MIT
No, and I’ll explain using Blockbuster as an example. I’m sure at some point, Blockbuster decided they would allow members to reserve DVDs for collection from the shop or even through the post; we need some of this internet stuff someone would have cried. Netflix, which started in 1997 before the internet was mainstream, envisioned a day, allowing members to download films to their homes. Until computers and the internet became fast enough, it broke with traditional video rental concepts, no shops and no late fees. Blockbuster became a faster caterpillar, but to Netflix, that didn’t matter. It was becoming a butterfly.
So your local taxi company may now offer an App to book its taxi (faster caterpillar), but it hasn’t changed its business model. Tesla has broken many traditional rules for the motor industry; its goal is to help adopt electric cars for society’s good. Airbnb, Uber, WeWork, Lyft are examples of companies using technology to approach their industries from a different perspective. It could be said that Yahoo and Blockbuster are two examples of companies that didn’t embrace Digital Transformation fast enough.
Researching using the graphic above and inserting your industry name into a search engine will be a good starting point. The video below also gives a good outline too.