Real World Digital Transformation

@JDavie25 started an extremely important thread

Too many still think and act as if #Digital #Transformation topics like #IoT #Industry40 etc are pure technical topics.

#Fail !

The value resides in the intelligent combination of business & IT – well, that should be a no-brainer, but are we as IT companies, Service Providers, Consultants etc really acting on this?

There are positive examples – but still not enough. That’s one of the reasons why amongst others so many SMBs do not jump on the train yet – and are thus threatening their existence. As I once wrote somewhere: Not having access to data is bad, having access and not using it in a business appropriate way is a real waste.

We need to face it – the principles of e.g. Orchestrated Manufacturing are old, the algorithms partially exist since centuries. The real benefit comes from fast compute now being a commodity and thus everybody (theoretically) having access to it.

Whoever uses technology just for the sake of using technology will fail, whoever sells technology just for the sake of selling technology might have a quick success but no longstanding customer satisfaction journey.

One always needs to reflect the business needs and tie the use of technology to those use cases.

From high level, there are three main categories of use cases:

1) Product Improvement

2) Production improvement

3) Find a new revenue stream

First step in any exploration with a customer needs to be the agreement of where in those three categories the customer (and thus also the provider) wants to act. Never, absolutely never, do this in IT discussions – this is a business scenario where IT can (should) enable, but not lead.

Second step needs to be a real thorough #UseCase discussion. Identify a few, agree on the PoC, run it fast ( #FailFast ), reflect results and adjust. Only if one is successful with these small steps the chance for doing more comes up, so make sure to focus.

Probably all of the above is #CommonSense – so what are we missing in getting higher acceptance?

Comments welcome


4 thoughts on “Real World Digital Transformation

  1. It’s perhaps easiest for those of us with a foot in both camps (technology & business) to recognise the art of the possible and the value of both the concept and the reality. Some of the innovators are also unintentional iconoclasts and revolutionaries. This, coupled with the ‘language gap’ can sometimes inhibit the conversation. We need to be sure that we demonstrate that the natives are friendly and the future has benefits for all.


  2. You are absolutely right, Jon. We need more “Double-Deep” folks (aka tech & biz), work on common language. Also mentor those who are what you refer to as iconoclasts and revolutionaries to learn the common language.
    We also need to make sure we demonstrate how to overcome what still quite a few consider as threats


  3. Excellent conversation-starting points Chris!

    My 2.75 cents on the matter revolve around 2 terms that are included in your post:
    1. “The Use Case”
    2. “The Customer” (or “the user”)

    The use-case can be conceived and initiated both from a Business objective perspective (the three you mention, product improvement, production improvement, new revenue stream, are excellent examples) and, from a user/customer perspective (the same drivers could still apply). The customer/user-driven use cases are particularly interesting as they will not necessarily come from within the industry The notion of Liquid Expectations (coined by Fjord I believe) means that the best experience a user has had in any digital context (personal or professional) will drive the expectations for all future digital experiences.

    I believe the conversation has to start with the use(r)-case, so “what would we like to do and for whom?” and the next step then becomes “what technologies enable this?”. I fully agree with you Jon and Chris, being able to act on this requires strong and constant communication!
    – Firstly, communication between industry, technology and business experts – and if you can educate people so they possess several of these then you improve your odds greatly.
    – Secondly, open communication around ideas, POCs, technologies, new business processes, new business models, etc.


    • Hi Carsten,

      thanks for chiming in. I fully agree on the different perspectives – which are, as you agree, covered by the same / similar drivers. Basically there’s a cascade we need to keep in mind.
      => What’s the use case for a certain company
      ==> The same company needs (and will) think about use case(s) for their respective customers/users

      That’s why we need to understand the industry of clients, the internal & external parameters impacting our client and the client’s customers…i.e. the complete chain

      The great point I see (also here, this conversation and the tweet it’s based on) re open communication: Those of us who have embrace open communication / OutsideIn will show the late followers the value this transparency brings.


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