When you move your database to the cloud, it's digital transformation. When customers can make payments through a secure website, it's digital transformation. When employees can manage and track their work schedules via mobile phone, that's digital transformation.

building-new-york-42nd-street-photo-by-joe-mckendrick.png Photo: Joe McKendrick

More often than not, you're not even calling it "digital transformation." It's about productivity, it's about access, it's about getting customers what they want,when they want it. People across the enterprise see such transformation through their own lenses. So does it even make sense to launch or attempt to sustain some kind of broad "digital transformation" effort?

Researchers at IDG recently attempted to apply a unified field theory to the meaning of "digital transformation," based on the results of a survey[1] of 702 IT and business decision-makers. Essentially, they identified eight ways people look at it:

  • Employee productivity. For 52 percent of executives, "becoming a digital business means enabling worker productivity through tools such as mobile, data access and AI-assisted processes."
  • Data-driven business performance. Close to half, 49 percent, also see digital transformation as "the ability to better manage business performance through data availability and visibility."
  • Customer experience. "For 46 percent of decision-makers, digital transformation "means meeting customer experience expectations, while 44 percent see it as "understanding customer needs through data collection and analysis."
  • Mobile capabilities. Another 46 percent see digital transformation as "providing secure, optimized anywhere/anytime access to assets."
  • Process automaton. At least 37 percent say digital transformation means "digitally modifying business and/or processes ."
  • Revenue streams. One-third, 33 percent, say digital transformation means developing new digital business/revenue streams.
  • Product innovation. Another 31 percent see digital transformation as achieving top-line growth through digital product enhancements/new digital products or services.
  • Supply chain optimization.

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