Stop Talking About Digital Transformation


I mean, what????

Seriously?  Just last year two of my seven posts (yeah, didn’t do that well writing in my blog last year – but been working to remedy that by posting links to my other writings around the world – but I digress) were about digital transformation.

I have been talking about digital transformation for nearly four years now and began to write about the transformative power of data (what digital refers to) over 15 years ago (when I began to cover EFM at Gartner ‘member?).  Why on earth would I want to stop talking about it now – when its finally reached the peak of the hype cycle and is beginning to be adopted?

Because its too limiting.

In my (now) business transformation model data has a key place right in the middle of it (see figure below).

DT New Framework

In conversations and work I’ve done these past 6-8 months with organizations and vendors data remains the main focus.  Top  investments for 2015 are focused around data and analytics.  Talk of Big Data and related concepts are taking over the world – and my colleagues (analysts, influencers, and pundits) are all super-busy around the topic of Data.

Data has taken front-and-center positioning among organizations’ plans and strategies for 2015 – and it is too limiting.

We need to amplify the conversation.

If we are going to talk about transformation we need to talk about more than just digital.  Data is but one piece of the pie.  Data, together with content and knowledge, become part of the information layer (see figure below).


If we are to talk about a complete transformation of the business we need to also talk about content beyond marketing and about knowledge beyond service as well as we talk about data.  We need to understand that the three work together to create information and that the flow of the information, freely via public clouds, is what will transform the business.  We also need to understand how new, old, and still-unknown data is going to be used to push business forward.

Data and digital are still part of the transformation, but we cannot forget the remaining pieces — and talking about digital simply limits the conversation to a small piece of it.

Let’s stop talking about digital transformation.

Let’s talk about business transformation.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Stop Talking About Digital Transformation”

  1. Thought provoking post Esteban – as always. I agree fully with shifting the talk to business transformation.

    But don’t agree on the noise to insight model – very static and functional. Today we need millions of these functional vectors on top of the noise. 99% may die before making it to signal – but that we can run millions of them in an affordable way to get to insights is really the core power behind modern insights.

    Pardon typos – typed racing close of plane door…

  2. I fully agree that the transformation every industry is going through goes far beyond digital. In your business model though I think there is a key piece missing and thats the whole cognition concept. Human-like conversations as well as machine learning based analytics are going to play a key role in the transformation

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