Why Digital Transformation Depends on IT

In September 2017, I gave a speech to the the Society for Information Management on Digital Transformation and the role IT must play in it, in order for companies to survive, and potentially thrive, in the future. I have received significant positive feedback on the speech, and I thought I would attempt to share it here with you all.

My speech focused on three key areas:

I asked the audience ‘Who here has the mandate from the business to digitally transform?’, and very few attendees raised their hand.

As discussion ensued, it was obvious that while Digital Transformation is on everyone’s brain, it certainly wasn’t a day-to-day priority for most, as day-to-day priorities were being taken up by mundane ‘table-stakes’ tasks. This was NOT a surprise to me…we know our CTOs / CIOs are incredibly busy and although they do see what is needed in the future, they often aren’t empowered or able to get out of the day-to-day ‘table-stakes’ tasks.

So, why then is Digital Transformation so hot now? Moreover, is Digital Transformation something new? I chose to answer the 2nd question first.

No, Digital Transformation isn’t new, but up until now it has been the focus of the CMO and as such has largely focused on ‘putting Lip-Stick on a Pig’, i.e. building pretty websites and mobile apps, but failing to actually improve the client, employeee, or operational experience.

So, Why then is Digital Transformation so hot now? It is hot, because finally people have awoke to the fact that DT is far more than pretty interfaces; it is all about bringing amazing Digital Experiences AND Operations together; leveraging new technologies and capabilities to make organizations, faster, smarter, and bolder than ever before. What wasn’t really that possible 10–15 years ago is now very possible.

Wikipedia has a very dull but accurate description of Digital Transformation, but it doesn’t really help someone understand what to do, or what is lacking in today’s organizations. It is:

Whereas, I subscribe to the notion that Digital Transformation is the bringing together of amazing Digital Experiences and amazing Operations capabilities.

When brought together, organizations can provide amazing client and employee experiences that make everyone faster, smarter, and bolder in their thinking and execution.

I then proceeded to walk the audience through 5 key Truths about Digital Transformation that I have noticed many companies just don’t get. They are:

Digital Transformation is about aligning the whole business together. It is more than Technology, it is People, Policy, Culture, Process, and only then should it become about Technology.

What’s interesting is that I then asked the audience:

Again, most did not say ‘yes’ to this question. Not surprisingly, most had yet to be able to secure the funds needed to actually make some real change happen.

So you can imagine the audience’s surprise when I shared this slide:

What you notice above is that not only does Revenue go up, but Profitability goes up even more. This denotes a key lesson learned…there seems to be more to gain by using Digital Transformation as a means to make your organization move faster, more efficiently, more effectively, that there is on revenue generation. Yet, in 2017, most Digital Transformation initiatives were still being led by the CMO; who often has the least ability to impact efficiency, pace, or effectiveness except in his/her own department.

To make my point even stronger, I walked the audience through 4 case-studies that proves DT works, and does add value:

So, what is holding companies back from moving full steam ahead:




Yet, we are convinced that:

And, Great Digital CIOs are Leading THE Change,

So, How should these Great Digital CIO Leaders get started?

Lastly, I ended on specifically, what they should do next:

Then I took questions for about 30 minutes, and met many attendees afterward to answer even more questions. Do you have questions? Then, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Ltepperman@k2digital.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.

About the author:

Lawrence Tepperman is the Founder and Managing Director of K2 Digital, a leading digital transformation services and solutions firm. K2 Digital has recently been acquired by PureFacts. Lawrence has more than 20 years of experience building companies through marketing, software solutions, and management consulting. He founded K2 Digital in 2012 in order to help companies realize the tremendous benefits of digital transformation before they are disrupted.