A Digest of Digital Transformation Sources

There’s been an ongoing discussion of “Digital Transformation” for at least the last 5 years. Before that, I remember being in Silicon Valley with the senior leadership team of a Fortune 500 company in 2007 explaining the wave of change that was about to hit most organizations, but not having the catchy phrase back then. We just knew it was going to be big, it was caused by “digital” and just about everything was going to undergo some sort of transformation.

In the intervening years the phrase “Digital Transformation” has become a catch-all for too many things. In general, it seems like most agencies and organizations are using it to mean, essentially, “all the digital shit we gotta get moving on faster so we don’t get left behind”.


Look past the jargon and go to the roots of where the phrase came from; there’s a lot of really good thinking about Digital Transformation that will be useful for your own efforts to drive change in your organization.

  • The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation – This is a summary/overview from the authors of a much more in-depth piece (see below). However, this one has a really important focus on the customer experience.
  • Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion Dollar Organizations – This whitepaper from CapGemini/MIT was the first one that made me wake up in a cold sweat, thinking “holy crap, this is going to require a much bigger enterprise effort than i thought. ” Before i read this, i was really just focused on the functional area i was leading. After this, i realized how integrated the “digital” effort needed to be throughout the organization.
  • Nine Questions to Help You Get Your Digital  Transformation Right – This article is new to me, but it’s focus on key cultural changes – budgeting, cross-team/cross-partner collaboration, customer centricity – is right on.
  • What Digital Transformation Really Means – More of a thoughtful analysis of the term and some analysis about what it *really* means by ITWorld. Really like the focus on “fungibility” and the emphasis on adaptability. Not much use for building your own roadmap, though.
  • What Does Digital Transformation Really Mean (Marketing Week) – This is written for marketers and provides a good overview of the concept and, more importantly, actionable advice about how to get senior leader buy-in.
  • 5 Disruptors to Marketing: Part 1 – Digital Transformation – This article is from the perspective of Marketing, but it’s a good overview of how “digital transformation” is creating organizational confusion as functional areas grapple with core, existential questions like “Who is accountable for the customer experience?” or “Who should be the owner of product management” when so much of the product is digital?
  • Altimeter’s 2014 Update on Digital Transformation – They’re all over this topic (here’s the 2016 doc), but i found this 2014 report especially helpful when talking with clients about what was happening inside their own organization. (interesting side note: In the old days of “social media”, i had kind of dismissed Brian Solis as a kind of gadfly – maybe it was the monocle – but i’ve come to respect his take on what’s happening inside of large organizations via Altimeter).
  • The Future of CPG: Moving from Analog to Digital – Close to my CPG experience, this Accenture article is useful for helping marketers to understand that digital goes way, way beyond marketing.

I’m hoping to add a couple more articles here over as time goes by.

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