Nothing Stays The Same, Not Even Digital Transformation

Paul Kurchina

Everything in life is constantly evolving – especially the words we use on a daily basis. Describing someone as “nice” once meant that a person was silly, foolish, or simple – far from the compliment it is today. Even the business term “divest” has managed to move away from depriving others of their rights and possessions to just selling away personal or business investments.

And the same is happening with the buzzworthy term “digital transformation.” Up until about three years ago, this phrase traditionally described the application of digital technology to business processes, work, and assets. But now, digital transformation is beginning to take on an entirely new meaning.

Digital transformation is not about technology – it’s a question of reimagination

According to David Rogers, a globally recognized leader in digital business strategy, faculty member of Columbia Business School, and best-selling author, the challenge of “digital transformation” is now more about shifting the mindset of an organization, and less about the technology itself.

“Digital transformation is really a question: How does a business – that started before the digital era –change and adapt to reach its next stage to profitable growth in a world that is defined by continually emerging technology?” Rogers shared his thinking in the Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG) Webcast The Digital Transformation Playbook: Driving Change in the Organization. “For these businesses, the heart of digital transformation is not about technology; it’s really about changing your thinking as an organization.”

Large enterprises should view digital transformation very differently than a startup, according to Rogers. They have to consider their existing customers, business processes, and distinct organizational culture that are already ingrained in their ecosystem. By determining how these elements adapt throughout the digital transformation journey, they can find ways to innovate without being stuck in their tried-and-true comfort zones and “Ubered” by new competitors.

Rewriting the rules of customers, competition, data, innovation, and value

In his newest book, The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, Rogers observed, “digital technologies are transforming not just one aspect of business, but virtually every aspect. They are rewriting the rules of customers, competition, data, innovation, and value. Responding to these changes requires more than a piecemeal approach; it calls for a total integrated effort – a process of holistic digital transformation within the firm. Fortunately, this process is clearly achievable.”

As the world around us evolves, every business is fighting for relevance. Customer behaviors and views are changing, and distinct lines separating industries are blurring together. More important, demonstrating how your brand improves customers’ lives is becoming even more critical. By reshaping overall notions around customers, competition, data, innovation, and value in regards to the marketplace, any business (even yours) can evolve, adapt, and win in the digital economy – now and in the future.

To hear more of David Rogers’s latest thinking, check out the Webcast replay of The Digital Transformation Playbook: Driving Change in the Organization, which is part of a series of Webcasts hosted by ASUG. Plus, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Rogers’ book The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age to learn from an insightful collection of frameworks, planning tools, and case studies of traditional businesses that are winning over customers in this digital era.

There is no avoiding digital disruption. The trick is to make it a positive change for you and your established customers. Learn about 4 Ways to Digitally Disrupt Your Business Without Destroying It.

Image credit: © Fat*fa*tin | Dreamstime.com – Digital Butterfly Twist Glow Photo


Paul Kurchina

About Paul Kurchina

Paul Kurchina is a community builder and evangelist with the Americas’ SAP Users Group (ASUG), responsible for developing a change management program for ASUG members.