Digital transformation has become a bit of a buzz term. Anyone working in technology or marketing will have heard its use in a range of different contexts. It’s fair to say it’s a very current phrase. But what does digital transformation actually mean?
Well perhaps the best way to answer that is to start with what digital transformation isn’t.
If you hear someone saying, “Yeah we’ve just done some digital transformation, we built a website,” or “Our digital transformation is now complete, we’ve migrated to a new CRM system”, well more than likely that’s not digital transformation. It’s just adopting a new tool.
A lot of the time people who are talking about digital transformation are not actually transforming anything. Unfortunately the term has been misappropriated and in the eyes of some it is used to signify any digital change made.
If you hear someone saying, “Yeah we’ve just done some digital transformation, we built a website,”...well more than likely that’s not digital transformation. It’s just adopting a new tool.
In reality, digital transformation is actually a much deeper and holistic process than that. A useful way of thinking about digital transformation is to consider it as a profound change. It’s not just about technological change, it’s about cultural change too. So it’s not a little bit here and a little bit there. It’s about changing the IT systems, the business and organisational activity. It involves the processes, the competencies and the business model used - making them relevant and as effective as possible in the Digital Age.
If I’m looking to get somewhere faster, I don’t just buy a new pair of running shoes. That’s a very minor adjustment, like simply changing or building a website. However, if I were to reconsider my means of travel, for example if I were to travel by vehicle instead, that transforms the journey and allows me to go a lot further, a lot faster.
Digital transformation is doing that for an organisation’s entire business presence – it’s using the power of digital to maximise your business performance across a range of different strands. You do that primarily to leverage the changes and opportunities inherent in a whole range of digital technologies.
Basically, digital transformation isn’t about getting the business ready for tomorrow only – it’s about making adjustments that will allow the business to succeed for the next 10 years. That is the kind of horizon that anyone serious about digital transformation should be considering. If you’re not looking at how to fundamentally improve your business, your processes and your relationship with your customers then you’re not digitally transforming.
Really at its core, companies and organisations undertake digital transformation so they don’t get left behind.
Digital transformation can be applied to all business objectives. It really doesn’t matter what the business is. So, it doesn’t need to be a software company to undergo digital transformation – it can also be applied to a farming business or a local corner shop. All that really matters is that the trnasformation secures the commercial or operational future of the organisation in question.
Primarily the digital transformation process provides a platform and an opportunity for growth. It makes your business work either more effectively or efficiently, or it brings you closer to the customer and the customer’s expectation of what you can do. Really at its core, companies and organisations undertake digital transformation so they don’t get left behind.
In Continuum we have worked on hundreds of digital transformation projects – as you would expect from ‘The Digital Transformation Agency’. One of our key goals is to develop long lasting and continual relationships with our clients. In that sense we have helped many different businesses and organisations to evolve and transform their businesses and equip them for the digital corporate world. This has included businesses and organisations across a multitude of different industries.
We can help people recognise where they need to start their digital transformation process, providing advice as to what is and is not working. We do the research for our clients and pride ourselves on taking a very deep look at their digital and corporate needs. We look far below the surface at the entire digital presence so that we can provide our clients with a clear strategic view of how digital transformation may apply to their business and how they can best utilise the advantages provided by modern digital technologies.