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Drivers of Digital Transformation

March 1st, 2016

Digital transformation: an unprecedented, multi-dimensional confluence of ideas, inter-disciplinary thinking, and distributed expertise – and a revolutionary change in management sciences thinking – merging to drive exponential impacts on business, organization, and culture.

Truth and insight? Or echoes of the platitudes of business transformation from years past?

We wanted to explore this question and assumed a skeptical starting point. We looked deeply at the existing industry literature, then reflected on LDS’s direct experience working with our clients in their digital transformations.

What we found is that digital transformation is markedly different from business transformation, grounded on five tenets (in order of importance) and one qualifier:

  1. Customer at the center of everything – “digital first” approach, design thinking, new interactive services
  2. Disruptive business ecosystems – innovative business models and relationships realized through new services and shared platforms and integrated operations and programs
  3. Inversion of expertise – interdisciplinary thinking and distributed expertise, principle of open knowledge, cross-functional interaction, and hyper-collaborative work practices
  4. Transformation-focused, top-down leadership – new digital vision and abilities, bold business goals, strategic investment in digital, tearing down silos and securing alignment
  5. Application of digital technology – particularly that which is highly personalized and always available, integrated in service of business and user contexts

… all collectively subordinating (and leveraging) traditional business transformation practices (e.g., organization, process, job, change management).

Of course, there is a world of meaning behind these five tenets and their relevance is always particular to the client situation. Also, this does not address the structural nature of digital transformation inside the organization itself (to be described in a forthcoming Point of View article; spoiler alert: the profound importance of the digital employee experience).