TechRepublic's Dan Patterson talked with Deloitte Consulting CTO Bill Briggs about weaving digital transformation into the fabric of a company.
Watch the video, or read the transcript of their conversation below:
Patterson: There's a lot to unpack when it comes to digital transformation. I wonder if we could start with definitions. When you speak with other companies and you look at their progress, how do not just you as Deloitte define digital transformation, but how do you see other companies, other enterprise companies define digital transformation?
Briggs: Hey, it's great to be here and I love that as a setup. Like you said, just a quick one to unwind. Digital transformation, it has become so pervasive, it means everything and nothing. Part of it is to say why don't we try to make it down to move on. Two things that we start with: For a while, digital transformation, digital was a proxy for some very specific technologies, a lot of them around the channel, so it was proxy for mobile social web and then that kind of evolved.
We look at as the combination of all the technologies kind of converging together to say how do we reinvent how work is done and how do we reshape our markets around us? That isn't just the mobile social web, it's blockchain, it's cognitive, which is AI, and machine learning and natural language, and automation, and how does that play into it? It's the convergence of IoT and AR and VR, potentially. But for us the individual pieces of what of the technology is really not the point. How do you shift it into the combinatory so what? And then that's when you get into the how do you make it actual?
So for any given company, across industry sector, size, geography, if you have a boardroom table and it's a workshop in digital transformation, you've got at least an N+1 number of definitions in the leaderships' head and the participants around that dialogue. And they're all valid, most likely, and they're shared pieces of what the investment has to be able to cover between them. And so it's, in three broad strokes, there's the traditional, maybe five years ago, digital being customer experience, commerce, marketing, really that outside in, flip side view of digital, and that's still important as pieces are adding to it.
SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (TechRepublic)
There's the resurgence now of digital enterprise, or the inside the shop, corporate function, finance, supply chain, HR, even IT itself. How do we apply digital in this collection of technologies to be sure our work is done, which is huge and growing and by the way, that's so linked to the first definition of customer and experience, because so much of that has to bring the light to the back office, the core. And then there's the top-of-the-house digital strategy as the new way to talk about how do we think about products and services and offerings or competitive positioning in an industry, even our fundamental business model and the boundaries between industries and sector and players.
And all of those could be the right answer for any given company, any given government agency. The challenge is saying, "What is the immediate ... How do we frame in a way that we can take action, and not just let it become this metaphorical, rhetorical, overarching set of ambitions?"
For the rest of this conversation, check out the following articles:
- These are the biggest challenges of digital transformation
- How to define digital transformation goals for your company
- The most important technologies powering digital transformation
Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.