Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Ruxit Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Digital Transformation: Not Because It’s Easy, But Because It’s Hard | @CloudExpo #IoT #M2M #AI

Digital transformation is a process, not a destination

Digital Transformation: Not Because It's Easy, But Because It's Hard
Guest post by Intellyx Principal Analyst Charles Araujo

Pop quiz: What's the first thing you should do after you've completed your digital transformation?

If you've followed our work here at Intellyx, you know this was a trick question.

Digital transformation is a process, not a destination. It's a fundamental reshaping of an organization's culture that reorients it around the customer experience, business value and constant change.

It's not about executing a ‘digital transformation project' and finding a new normal. The essence of digital transformation is the destruction of the static state.

This essence is a challenging concept to grasp, ironically, because while we talk about digital transformation, we do it through an industrial era filter. It's difficult to imagine a change of state this fundamental, so it's easier to put in a box we understand.

A recent Ovum study shows the difficulty in grasping this essence of digital transformation. In the study of 7,000 IT decision makers, one-third of respondents said their organizations were "unprepared for...digital transformation." That was the headline - but the more troubling statistic was that 7% said their digital transformation was complete.

These results should scare you. First, a third of organizations are not prepared to do anything? After hearing an unending drumbeat about the changing landscape and having to step over the carcasses of companies who failed to respond to digital disruption, they've done nothing?

And then there are the 7% who claim to be done. They are sitting back, sipping their glass of Scotch and chuckling at the poor souls who are so far behind. They have no idea that not only are they not finished, but there's a good chance they haven't even started.

But even the study itself speaks to how badly organizations, their leaders, and even industry pundits misunderstand the true essence of digital transformation - why was that question even in the study?

All of these questions speak to the same problem: we hate ambiguity and open-ended quests. We want a starting line, a finish line and a way to know whether we've won or lost. But that's not how digital transformation works.

But who wants to take the first step on a journey they know will never end?

How to Win a Race You Can't Finish
By putting digital transformation into an industrial era box with a neat starting point, ending point, and finite measure of success, organizations are all but ensuring that they will ultimately fail to transform anything. They will find themselves struggling to understand how everything went wrong when they thought they did everything right.

To actually transform your organization, you need to change the way you look at the process - and by doing so, you'll be taking your first real step toward digital transformation.

The starting point is redefining success. Most organizations simply define digital transformation in terms of completing some specific set of activities. More adventurous organizations might have a set of business outcome metrics and define success as achieving some measure of them.

But these definitions of success will not ensure that your organization will actually achieve the real goal of digital transformation because they measure finite states. The goal of digital transformation is to create an organization that is infinite, unbounded, and in a constant state of reinvention.

Admittedly, that goal is much harder to measure.

It's a little like the difference between a monorail that takes people from a single location to another versus building a personal flying and submersible vehicle. One is static and serves a single purpose, so you measure its output and those things that will predict its output.

The other can take you anywhere you want to go, so the only measures that matter are those that ensure it can continue to take you there - wherever that may be.

Re-imaging Roles in a ‘Transformed' Organization
If you carry this analogy further, you realize that you must measure transformation success not by outputs, but by capabilities that deliver competitive advantage. Are your wheels running optimally so you can drive on roads faster than your competitors? Are your ducted fan engines operating effectively so that you can take off more quickly and fly faster? Are your navigational instruments operational so that you can plot your course more efficiently - on land, in the air or underwater?

From an organizational perspective, these capabilities translate to functional and individual roles. You can, therefore, measure digital transformation success across two dimensions:

  • Do you have the necessary capabilities/roles to take your organization anywhere you may need to go?
  • Are those capabilities/roles operating optimally and delivering competitive advantage?

However, one question remains: how do you know if you have the right roles and if they're operating optimally? This is where it gets tough. Because digital transformation demands a state of constant change, there is no ‘best practice' or standard by which you can measure success. The capabilities necessary at any given point will be different for every organization.

Nevertheless, one thing you can be sure of is that if the functional structures, roles and capability models you are using seem a lot like the ones you've always used, just with cooler names and titles, it's a pretty good bet you're not there yet. It's when things start feeling foreign that you're probably on the right track.

Recent conversations I've had with two organizations are good examples of what it looks like to be on the transformational journey.

The first company is beginning to apply the agile software development methodology as a business management model. Unrelated to software development, the organization is forming scrum teams, holding stand-ups and conducting sprints within its business operations and marketing teams.

The backlog contains business activities instead of software features, but the process is largely the same - and, of course, it has embedded technology demand into the process.

The second organization's approach is more radical. It has created a self-organizing management model that sits on top of its hierarchical management structure. Moreover, it has extended this self-organizing management model to its client engagements.

This company has created a structured mechanism that defines how this self-organizational model works. It includes a formal process for establishing the objective of each team, for managing the relationships between teams and specific roles that must exist within each team. It even uses this approach at the top-most level of the organization to drive all strategic decisions.

In both cases, the common thread is a re-imagining of roles and the reshaping of the operating paradigm around these new roles, where technology is a fundamental enabler. They both also measure performance based on the delivery capability of their respective teams, explicitly assessing the teams' on-going improvement and ability to adapt - ensuring that they maintain their transformative capability.

The Intellyx Take
To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, organizations must choose to pursue genuine digital transformation not because it is easy, but because it is hard. You must accept this challenge if you are to lead your organizations into the future.

If you think you are well on your way with digital transformation, or, heaven forbid, that you're done, stop and check yourself.

The digital transformation journey is a marathon that you've only just begun. The very best you can hope for now is to have started your journey with honorable intention and with the determination to see it through.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: NASA.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@ThingsExpo Stories
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of patie...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.