Digital Transformation Is No Longer a Choice

Written by: Janice Burney |

Laying the Foundation for Digital Transformation

What is it? And what can you do?

Digital transformation is no longer a choice. But how important is it?

Data shows that digital transformation is more than an erratic trend. It’s a mega-trend. However, less than 30% of business processes are digital. Even to this day, many business processes are manual or done on paper.

According to McKinsey, ignoring digital disruption will make revenue fall by 12% while those embracing it will grow by 16%.

This makes sense.

The Groundwork

It’s time to start your digital journey. There’s not a choice if you want to stay current and competitive. It’s not entirely daunting – but it is inescapable.

Digital transformation requires a pioneer’s spirit. The desire for long-term scalability will test the steady hand of business leaders mired in antiquated process and procedures. It’s not enough for an industry to adapt. Digital transformation requires a transformative mindset. Pushing old business norms, trial and error is part of the equation.

NASA landed astronauts on the moon using technology before the cell phone was invented! And the microchip was still in its infancy. The Internet of Things (IoT), as a concept, wasn’t officially named until 1999. You’ll be landing on the moon applying technologies that are evolving. And so far, there’s no technical solution to rule them all.

As we watch disruptive companies like Uber, Tesla, and Airbnb, it’s inevitable that new business models are continually shaping the future, regardless of the industry.

Digital transformation is no longer a choice. It’s no longer a trend or a buzzword. How important is it and are small steps enough?

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Where Do You Start?

One famous Yogi Berra-ism we’ve all heard: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” One less famous is: “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”

Leveraging technology and being agile are two keys to your digital transformation.

Every process in business is bettered in some way by software. From personal to business use, software affords process efficiencies that are faster, more accurate, and more accessible.

Software evolution is a significant disrupter and at times an unfathomable force that requires foresight. It’s not easy to stay abreast of trends when the real trends are evolving and laying waste to legacy systems.

There’s one area to keep an eye on – APIs. APIs are the glue becoming the standard for software products dynamically driving flexibility and rapid response.


Get ready; I’m going to date myself. No eye rolling either!

Remember your first introduction to technology? Perhaps it was the iPhone, iPod or even a floppy disc. I remember the first Macintosh Plus (gasp). It had one megabyte of RAM and a SCSI interface for attaching peripherals like hard drives or scanners. This was revolutionary.

It wasn’t particularly intuitive – maybe because it forced our brains to work differently, but it sure was captivating. I struggled to understand why I was feeding many floppy discs into the machine. Did I have them in the right order? Did I leave them in the drive? Once I figured it out, fascination grew as I watched the screen transform, controlled by clicks from my mouse and keyboard.

The whirling hard drive and fan, a source of incredible heat, provided new sounds. After an hour, the computer became an additional heat source for a cold room. The long-blunted foghorn coming from dial-up modems and the churning sound while loading floppy discs were new notes in my music repertoire. Like Pavlov’s dog, I was trained by these sounds and processes.

Today these sounds are nonexistent. Ah, the good old days. Now you can roll your eyes.

It wasn’t naturally intuitive, but it sure was captivating. I struggled to figure out how the software worked. Once I figured it out, I was fascinated watching the screen transform controlled by a mouse and keyboard. For the first time, I could sit for hours – not one to read a manual (did they even have one?) but instead I clicked around in endless discovery journeys. A wide smile and awe-filled eyes transformed my face.

I couldn’t even stop at total immersion.

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What is Digital Transformation?

According to Bill Schmarzo in a CIO article – Digital Transformation is the application of digital capabilities to processes, products, and assets to improve efficiency, enhance customer value, manage risk, and uncover new monetization opportunities.

To make it more clear and actionable, he adds – “Digital capabilities are: electronic, scientific, data-driven, quantified, instrumented, measured, mathematics, calculated and/or automated.”

Software evolution is a consuming force. APIs are the glue becoming the standard for software products dynamically driving flexibility and rapid response.

Every process in business is bettered in some way by software. From personal to business use, software affords process efficiencies that are faster, more accurate, and more accessible.

Software is Enabling the World

Part of digital transformation revolves around software and how it makes a difference in our lives. For instance, you can shop on Amazon by merely giving Alexa a few commands. Or hail a ride from an app. In some cities, you can hop on a scooter and whisk around the streets using a simple app interface. You can order coffee using an app and have it ready for pickup and pay with Apple Pay.

Joining the digital revolution requires a high tolerance for trial-and-error adaptation as you navigate the shifting sands of technology innovation.

The Rise in Digital Technology

First and foremost, realize your business may have a disconnect between the tools your employees seamlessly use in their everyday lives – from apps to social networks, and the archaic software systems they have to use at work. Easily you can see where this leads to inefficiencies and in some cases loss of moral.

Technology drives towards naturalization and an intuitive user interface and design. Today children naturally commandeer their parents iPads and intuitively navigate through endless apps. I’m convinced this is proof they are born with silicon chips embedded in their compact digital-disrupter frames.

There it is; you have a no real choice but to change. Disruption will have to occur in your business process or internal technology systems and all the way through to your business model. If you keep in mind words like intuitive user interface, beautiful design (yes!) and convenient (easy and quick clicks) you have begun to change the world!