Customers today expect everything to be better, inexpensive and available to them in real-time, forcing companies to relook at their business models and technologies, and quickly adjust to these ever-changing demands.
What is digital transformation?
In his introduction, the author describes digital transformation, using a definition by George Westerman of MIT: "The use of digital technology to radically improve the performance and/or reach of a company."
Digital Transformation is a two-part process:
Digital: Identifying the technology, processes and products to drive your business.
Transformation: Changing the organization’s culture, employee mindset and upgrading skills to acclimatize them to the digital changes.
The first step is easier to implement as technology changes quickly. It is the "transformation" where the grunt work happens as organizations are slower to adapt to changing business needs.
Legacy vs born digital
The book begins by explaining the distinction between Legacy Companies (such as GE) that are trying to "become digital" and those that are Born Digital (such as Amazon or Google) followed by a practitioner’s view of the 10 principles for successful digital transformation. The author goes on to introduce the Holy Trinity of digital transformation—Business Models, Customer Experience and People/Culture that form the centerpiece of the process and how redesigning each of these bridges the gap in transforming your business.
Digital transformation models
Next, he discusses models that global leaders and strategy consultants have successfully used to transform businesses. He also lays out his Customer Centered Model of Digital Transformation drawn from his experiences as chief digital officer and digital transformation advisor.
Understanding technologies and data
The second part of the book delves into technology and how adapting technology is different from transformation and why every company needs it. He then elaborates on emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) and their use case scenarios. To demonstrate the power of AI, the author has partnered with Findability Sciences to rig up an AI bot who has written an entire chapter on AI.
For any technology to work, data is key which is why the book puts special focus on data—and data analytics, data science, big and small data, as well as ethical practices around them.
The book wraps up with a brief introduction to select technologies such as the Internet of Things, robots, drones, 3D printing, virtual reality or augmented reality that make up Industry 4.0 – the era of digital or digitalization.
It is important to note that digital transformation does not happen overnight. It involves careful thought and design. As Steve Jobs said: "You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to sell it."