Digital transformation progress. Or not…

I go to a lot of conferences, and something I have noticed in the past year or two is that almost every conference will have a keynote speaker talking about digital transformation. Hell, people have even started calling it simply DT, and digital transformation keynoters have the usual suspects to call on for case studies—Uber, Airbnb etc.

But every now and then I worry about how impactful the digital transformation story really is. I spend a reasonable amount of time with large organizations talking to them about their present and their future and helping them rethink what their business will look like in one, three or five years. Part of these conversations, obviously, center around digital transformation, since I am a firm believer that digital technologies will allow the agility and innovation with regards products, services and business models that these organizations need to survive.

So, why do I worry? Well, simply because for every organization that has me or someone like me talking about digital transformation and the broader business context, there are dozens—if not hundreds—who are just keeping on with their status quo and not really looking at the future from a threat/opportunity perspective.

I’ve always had this hunch, but had no empirical data on which to base it. That is why I was interested to read a recent PointSource study—Executing Digital Transformation—that sought to look at how organizations are transforming, as well as what barriers remain in place to their transformation. The company surveyed 300 decision makers across marketing, IT and operations, and the findings are a pretty sorry tale about existing systems.

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