Digital transformation is crucial to every business from small to fully mature corporate behemoths. That message has become abundantly clear through any business seminar, article, and study on how businesses can stay competitive amid the increasing role digital technologies play in our lives. According to IDC (International Data Corporation), by the end of 2017, two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2000 companies will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. In another recent survey of IT decision makers by progress.com, 55% of those surveyed feet they have a year or less to make digital inroads before suffering financially and competitively, and 59% are worried it’s already too late.
But what does digital transformation actually mean and why is it so important?
Definitions for digital transformation vary wildly as of how one business practices will differ from another depending on the industry. However, in general, we can say digital transformation is the integration of digital technologies into every aspect of a business resulting in fundamental changes in how they operate and deliver value to customers. It requires businesses to constantly question existing methods and ways of doing business in favor of relatively new ones that are still being defined. Perhaps the clearest definition is the one provided by author Greg Verdino, who says,” Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.”
Clearly, digital transformation isn’t just a snazzy new website or marketing campaign. It encompasses optimizing operations to better deliver value to customers, iterating upon and improving new strategies using technology to meet real consumer needs. It also includes using data to make better decisions and come up with new ideas, and collaborating with partners and institutions in your business ecosystem to create new opportunities to address consumer needs, and so much more. In short, what it means in terms of actual changes will look different for every business. But the results should be the same: digital transformation should make your business better.
The key takeaway, however, is that as digital technology increasingly becomes enmeshed in the day to lives of consumers, business should evolve to not only keep pace with new ways customers expect to be able to do business but to foresee what the next digital innovation will look like and how it might affect you.