Evolution vs Revolution: Embracing Digital Transformation in 2018

By Emily Rinde

Communications Manager

We might all be able to agree that “digital transformation” was the business buzzword of 2017 and it’s surely going nowhere as we head further into 2018. That’s because done correctly, it's not a buzzword at all, but a frame of mind for organizations that want to grow and survive. Let's briefly unpack the term and assess a few of the digital transformation themes we saw unfold in 2017.

As I mentioned above, digital transformation isn’t a fad or a one-and-done project and it doesn’t start one month and stop the next. We fully embrace that line of thinking here at The Nerdery and help our clients envision a commitment to perpetual change and acceleration — and then partner together to build technology to make it happen. Digital transformation is made up of reinventing your company's culture and redefining your value proposition by focusing on both customer engagement and enhancing products and services with technology. It’s no small feat, but it can be done.

As Greg Moran, COO of Wiretap and formerly of Nationwide and Ford explained, the states of defense, differentiation and disruption — or evolution vs revolution — should all have roles in an existing enterprise at any given time, but business leaders should be intentional and know where they are in that journey.

This theme is echoed in CIO Review as “surviving vs thriving” businesses. The below quotes further expand on the concept:

“The companies that are surviving are...largely going about things with a business-as-usual approach typically challenged by siloed organizations, tactical plans, limited expertise and insights.”
“[Thriving] organizations are striving to reimagine their businesses and are neither content nor complacent—they know they can always be more efficient, competitive and relevant. They understand that change has never been so rapid and pervasive, that disruption never loomed so large, and that the only way to stay ahead in business is to execute against this mindset.”

Enterprise software and legacy systems will continue to hold “surviving” organizations back from digitizing core organizational processes and offerings. This quote from TechTarget sums it up:

“Transformation and modernization are evolutionary terms, and it's easy to forget that they not only have to start with the present state of IT in a business but move forward in harmony with business goals and technology tools.”

Yet, technology is secondary to cultural change. Alignment across leadership is required to create lasting technological and cultural change within an organization. Julie Woods-Moss, in her article for Forbes, says,  

“Creating a digital culture isn’t about who’s in charge — it’s about building an agile structure that can adjust to changing employee and customer needs as new technologies and platforms emerge to fuel another shift in this constant cycle of change.”

Which organizations do you see embracing this constant cycle of change in a thriving or revolutionary way? Is yours? Evaluate your current efforts to identify opportunities for growth moving forward by taking The Nerdery’s five-minute digital transformation assessment.

Published on 01/15/2018