Why Digital Transformation is Misunderstood | Digital Marketing Blog

As part of my job at Adobe, I meet a lot of agencies, consulting and client firms, from both the private and public sectors. Many of them talk to me about digital transformation-that is, how the development of digital tools (mobile, tablet, connected bracelet, Internet of Things, etc.) transforms, “disrupts” even, what they are. Indeed, these tools are profoundly altering human relationships and interactions between individuals and organisations.

However, when people use the term “digital transformation,” they’re often only referring to the technology. In reality, as I observe every day, the transformation often involves management, the company’s organisation, and interactions. It’s a profound breakdown of organisational silos that should lead us to talk instead about a transformation of marketing and commerce made possible through digital.

This is why I say that the digital transformation doesn’t exist. To be more precise, a digital transformation is only one facet of a more global transformation, in which the technology is only one pillar-an important pillar, a structural one, but a pillar among others.

Two major consequences of this transformation

This profound transformation has two consequences:

1- The customers have the power.

A client can always change companies or providers, whereas a company will always need its customers and cannot change them. This self-evident fact, which the development of digital has brought to the forefront, means that the customer must be at the center of all business concerns.

2- Companies must review and rethink how they’re organised.

Although companies need to put customers at the center of their business concerns, few are organised this way, due to the presence of significant organisational silos and boundaries between departments. But the complexity of an organisation should not affect its customers. It is therefore necessary to first adapt the business organisation, which will involve the transformation of technology, especially those tools needed to manage digital interactions.

I insist on this point, on purpose: putting the consumer at the center of a company’s operation is not insignificant. We must understand all the impacts (technological, human, organisational, financial, etc.) to engage in the path of business transformation. Then, we must define the different steps of said transformation, including the technological step.

This transformation is a mutation of the client relationship model. Equipping all staff members with smartphones or redeveloping the company’s web platform, for example, cannot provide satisfactory answers to these issues. Although these elements are sometimes necessary, they are definitely not enough.

That’s why, to conclude and wrap everything up, that I say that the digital transformation doesn’t exist; a technological transformation exists (and is even necessary), but the transformation of management, marketing and human relations departments, and external and internal interactions are the real transformations. And it will always be long and painful process.

What about you, what is your perspective on digital transformation? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments!

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