Defining Digital Transformation: Through the Looking Glass of Customer Experience

There is a growing imperative to take companies through a “digital transformation”. One of the top drivers is a growing recognition that customers (both in the B2C and B2B worlds) increasingly rely on digital channels to gather information, compare products, and then transact. While digital represents only a small portion of the marketing budget, CMOs anticipate that it will steadily increase over the next few years.

And yet, organizationally and strategically, we live in a time bubble. Digital is still an afterthought and add-on to marketing campaigns. New extensions of digital like mobile and social languish for lack of credibility and funding in the organization. And highly siloed organizations create disjointed initiatives that touch customers with little or no data sharing between them.

In a new report written by my colleague, Brian Solis, Altimeter looks at Digital Transformation, and we do so through a different lens — not one that consists of channels and technologies but is grounded instead in the common focal point of the customer experience. The research found that the companies most successfully navigating a digital transformation are those with a clear sense of what the customer experience is — and how it could be better if the organization would reach customers and engage employees throughout that entire digital journey.

The new report defines and explains what digital transformation is and presents the challenges and opportunities that emerge throughout the process. Our research found that three elements are crucial to digital transformation success (see graphic below):












1) It is most effective with pointed vision and supportive leadership.
2) Optimizing the digital customer experience becomes the initial objective.
3) Change materializes and is driven through the formation of a digital transformation team.

Illustrating these points are our findings from 20 interviews conducted with some of the top companies undergoing digital transformation themselves — the report represents the common challenges they face and the best practices they use along their journey. The report also includes a checklist to help digital strategists begin their own transformation or to optimize their current efforts.

I hope you’ll take a moment to not only read the report, but to also provide feedback that will help us further deepen our research and understanding of digital transformation. We’re looking forward to the conversation and hope you enjoy the report!

Download the Report