Is Digital Transformation Dead? Or is it an Evolution?
Digital transformation can’t be dead, can it? How could it be dead, if organizations around the world spent $1.5 trillion on it in 2021? That number is expected to rise to $6.8 trillion in 2023, so if we read between the lines, it’s safe to assume that number will continue increasing after this year.
I’m not saying the premise of digital transformation is dead. The trend of using digital technologies to modify or create processes and customer experiences to meet ever-changing market demands is still very much alive. What’s dead is the notion of digital transformation as a one-and-done. That to me is a dying idea.
Let me give you context.
In early 2022, I was leading a virtual roundtable with about 20 other digital marketing leaders from various industries. I gave a short presentation on how the empowered consumer of today is forcing organizations to accelerate digital transformation budgets and efforts; how brands of today need to invest in tech that can handle the needs of tomorrow…and I’m sure there were some other extremely insightful points in there. At the end of the presentation, before I had a chance to ask if there were any questions or to start our roundtable discussion, one of the attendees chimed in, and I’ll never forget what he said:
Digital transformation is a crock.
A crock?! Naturally, as the person leading this discussion, you can imagine I was taken aback. But we were able to explore this more and when we ended the call, I sat thinking to myself for a while. Here is where I landed:
Digital transformation is dead.
After my enlightening conversation with this gentleman and the rest of the group, and doing some true soul-searching of my own, I’ve decided that to me, digital transformation is not a transformation at all—it’s an evolution. Digital transformation is forever ongoing because the pace of change has never been this fast, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
If we say we’re transforming, that implies there is an end. Will the brands transforming today to use digital technology for new business processes keep using that same tech and process forever? Will the tech and strategies we use for personalization today be the same that we need 5, 10, or 15 years from now? Will we be delivering customer experience in the same way in 2022 as we do in 2035? I certainly hope not.
Brands going through the process of introducing new tech are going to invest in even newer tech at some point in the future. That is a fact. Customer expectations of today are sure to change in the future. That is a fact. Transforming your organization today is not enough.
Think about it like the humble semi-truck that transforms into the Autobots’ leader Optimus Prime (and yes, I had to Google that). While he can go from semi-truck back to Optimus Prime, again and again, becoming Optimus Prime is the peak of his transformation. There is no further transformation. The word transformation implies that you’ll reach the highest point of what you can be and there’s nowhere to go beyond that.
That is why when it comes to your business and your adoption of digital technologies, your digital strategies, and your digital marketing, you should refocus your thoughts around your digital evolution. Evolution implies constant movement, that you’ll continue to grow and change, and that you’ll never stop learning and getting better. It means that you’ll never stop progressing.
If you stop changing, or you stop evolving, your customers will leave you behind because you won’t be able to keep up with their wants, needs, and expectations. Brands that evolve are bound to beat the competition because they embrace change more regularly than those that decide just to transform.
All that said, we all must start somewhere. Digital transformation is the first step toward digital evolution. To know where you can go, you need to know where you are, where you want to be next, and where you want to go after that.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about how to start your digital evolution, reach out! You can learn more about getting started on your journey with our digital transformation services or contact us to discuss how your digital marketing can be a catalyst to fuel your digital evolution!
Let’s start an evolution together!