Digital Transformation Hype: Are You Buying This?

Digital Transformation is the hot term at many enterprise IT conferences these days. But frankly, I'm not sure what to make of it... Among the official definitions:

"Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way."

Hmmm... I guess you could say cities become smart cities. Infrastructure becomes smart infrastructure. And corporate IT becomes a revenue generator rather than a cost center. It all sounds so wonderful... Almost like Trump bringing back all of those lost manufacturing jobs to the rust belt.

... But the skeptic in me wonders this: Is Digital Transformation a polite way to tell antiquated industries (newspapers, TV networks, transportation, etc.) that potential salvation still awaits them?

I know this:

  • I believed in the cloud wave long before enterprise workloads moved to Amazon Web Services and Azure. Heck, I was a believer when Microsoft was still trying to jump from BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) to Office 365.
  • I believed in the mobile wave when I was among the first iPhone buyers. The App Store didn't exist yet. But the promise of an integrated mobile device -- "iPod, Phone, Internet" as Steve Jobs put it at the time)-- seemed fabulous.
  • As for Digital Transformation, I'm not so sure...

Everybody tells me "it's happening." In some cases, I suppose it is. Just be careful of viewing Digital Transformation as some sort of savior.

  • It won't save antiquated industries -- though it may allow companies in those industries to push into new, previously unforeseen markets.
  • It won't save hardware companies that simply want to sell more boxes.
  • And it won't save those who chase shiny objects.

True Digital Transformation, I suppose, delivers healthy doses of Automation and Monetization. Anything less is simply industry hype. And frankly, I could use a break from the hype.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.