Digital Transformation as an Expression of Business

In much of industry, the idea of “Digital Transformation” has taken root. At the core of this process is the need to replace antiquated and “slow” processes, products, and service offerings with agile, automated, and “smart” processes, products, and service offerings. In addition, digital transformation is about the inclusion of all potentially interested parties (employees, partners, customers, influencers) in the creation and execution of new lines of business and innovation.

While the concept of Digital Transformation has been around in the entire Internet Age, necessary elements have indeed been missing. First, not always were the underlying technologies ready for “prime-time.” What works in manicured and controlled environments doesn’t always work at scale or in fast-moving, instant-decision environments. Second, the culture of transformation has not always been present with many forces internally and externally being focused on the power of the status quo. Third, Digital Transformation requires the foregrounding of certain parts of the organization at the perceived expense of others parts. With these constraints, the prevailing scenario for transformation has been characterized by the gap between intention and execution.

Of the organizational barriers that impede the progress for Digital Transformation, the schism between IT and Business is perhaps the most profound. Business users in organizations are governed by entirely different imperatives than IT teams are. While business changes, roles and cultures do not always keep up with the dynamism of business models and the directives that come out of the C-suite.

Business users are defined by the “Power of NOW!” while IT is chartered with issues of security, governance, compliance (and at times control) that if applied in the canonical methodology, are antagonistic to the time-based agility that has come to define modern business.

This happens even when IT teams and Business teams are friendly and believe in the same overall set of goals. This is the result of technology configurations that were not flexible or adaptive, two defining characteristics of true Digital Transformation.

When IT and Business are in Harmony, agility is possible in a way that does not run afoul of the core mandates of IT. When IT and Business are in structural harmony, all of the manic energies of the organization can be trained on the same end goal.

Running IT like a Business and running Business in an IT-native world are keys to Digital Transformation. At stake here is the ability of organizations to navigate the shoals of modernity and complexity, in which every expanding pools of data and ever-growing avenues of expansion characterize business.

As such, Digital Transformation is the ultimate expression of IT-Business Harmony and IT-Business Harmony is the starting point of real Digital Transformation.

Guest post by:
Romi Mahajan, KKM Group
Srini Venugopal, Epicor Software

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.