The hype around digital transformation has led many to believe it’s a magic wand, but the glow seems to be fading or was the concept of digital transformation itself over-hyped and misleading
There is no doubt that this term “digital transformation” has been somehow over-used or over-hyped by many people over the last few years, making it a bit of a tired cliché. Some experts even argue that it’s come to mean so many varied things that it’s fast becoming meaningless as a holistic term. Also, it has been noted that some vendors misuse or overuse the term to market tech solutions designed to grab the attention of the tech-leaders of the firms. This has resulted in the CIOs getting weary at the very mention of digital transformation.
So, many CIOs are claiming that it is time to declare digital transformation dead. But, the fact is that this is absolutely not the case. In fact, the dollars and resources behind the digital transformation initiatives are increasing at an unprecedented rate. However, there is a grave need for people across sectors to use this term mindfully in the right context.
Digital transformation means a radical rethink of how a firm uses technology, people, and processes to upgrade business performance. And while technology is undoubtedly the primary catalyst behind a digital transformation, the overall philosophy must infuse throughout the culture of an organization in order to be successful. It is immensely critical to recognize that digital transformation is a journey and not a quick ‘one-sized fits all’ solution. The businesses that embrace this ideology are the ones actually transforming digitally, and the ones buying technologies are merely assuming they are undergoing such a journey.
IDC has forecasted that the spending on digital transformation technologies is going to be doubled over the next two years, reaching almost $1.97 trillion by 2022. The world is currently in the era of ‘Multiplied Innovation,’ driven by critical technologies such as blockchain, AI, ML, IoT, and automation. Innovation is indeed accelerating as firms take new risks, and micro-services go mainstream. From 2018 to 2023 – with cloud-native platforms, code reuse, agile methods, and an increase in developers – 500 million new apps are expected to be created, equal to the number built in the past 40 years. Besides, it encompasses technologies and applications that are rapidly innovating, and disrupting- AI, IoT and, cloud to name a few. As long as they keep evolving, companies will be transforming into digital entities, and the journey will go on.
To conclude, digital transformation is not yet dead – it’s actually thriving. The just the term that has indeed been misused or over-used, and that’s where the discussion becomes convoluted. Many businesses, as well as a few industry experts, want to apply “digital transformation” to every business technology initiative that they undertake. But, the mere adoption of technology is not a step towards digital transformation. It is what technologies are adopted, where and how. Unless the transformation takes place in the entire company, percolates to every process- to make each corner digitally viable- it cannot be called even a journey. Digital transformation is an ongoing process that is more about the company culture and the people and less about the technologies.
Digital transformation starts with digital services and products but really comes down to the ideology, people, technologies, and processes that enable, create, manage, and deliver them. This is the right philosophy that is very much alive in today’s business culture. Also, such a philosophy will only increase in importance going forward. Admitting that the term “digital transformation” has been used far too loosely, but the accurate meaning of digital transformation embodies the real future of business.