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Digital Transformation: Evolve or Die?

Last month, Altimeter Group released a new report on digital transformation to help digital strategists understand what companies are doing today so they can plan and evolve for tomorrow. Insert obligatory “Get busy living, or get busy dying” quote from The Shawshank Redemption right here. Findings from The 2014 State of Digital Transformation include results that are both relevant and noteworthy for organizations from all industries throughout the world that want to get busy evolving their business to deliver a positive experience for digital customers.

Executives and strategists can leverage the insights revealed in this report by gaining an understanding of what digital transformation actually means, the future challenges and opportunities looming on horizon, the roles leadership and company culture play in the process (hint: they are important), popular digital transformation initiatives, and how evolving companies impact the bottom line.

Digital Transformation – Key Takeaways

Brian Solis announced the release of The 2014 State of Digital Transformation report on his blog last month along with an in-depth breakdown of the research findings. It is definitely worth checking out as an appetizer before diving into the full 33-page report. Here are my key takeaways from the report:

Definition Confusion

  • Altimeter defines digital transformation as, “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touch-point in the customer experience lifecycle.”
  • This definition was provided as reference to the digital leaders who participated in a survey for Altimeter’s report to answer the following questions:
  • “Is your organization undergoing a formal digital transformation effort in 2014?”
    • 88% responded, “yes”. Here’s where it gets interesting.
    • “Which of the above best describes your company’s efforts around the customer journey/experience?”
    • 25% responded, “we have completely mapped out the customer journey within the last year and have a clear understanding of new digital touch-points.”
    • Ask a dozen people to define digital transformation and you will probably get twelve different responses.


  • Journey Mapping. Understanding the journey a customer goes on and the decision making process behind it is a critical piece of the consumer behavior puzzle.
  • Bad Data. 51% somewhat feel lack of data represents a challenge.
  • Time/Resources. 56% challenged by resource procurement and allocation.

Leadership Influence

Who’s running the digital transformation show?

  • CMO (54%)
  • CEO (42%)
  • CIO (30%)


Digital transformation presents opportunities for companies:

  • Marketers should think outside the box, or outside the campaign when it comes to digital strategy.
  • Departments throughout the organization should team up and stack hands on digital efforts rather than work independently as teams.

Moving The Cheese

Changing company culture is a top challenge facing digital transformation for companies.

  • 63% of survey respondents labeled a shift in company culture at the top as “very important”

Digital Transformation Initiatives

The top three digital transformation initiatives for companies include:

  • “Improving processes that expedite changes to digital properties, i.e. website updates new mobile or social platforms, etc.”
  • “Updating our website and ecommerce programs for a mobile world.”
  • “Integrating all social, mobile, web, ecommerce, service efforts and investments to deliver an integrated and frictionless customer experience.”

Digital COE Channel Integration

What digital channels do companies have pre-existing COEs setup and where is the majority of effort being focused?

  • Social (71%)
  • Mobile (63%)
  • Search (59%)
  • Online display (56%)
  • Email marketing (48%)
  • Comms/PR (37%)
  • eCommerce (31%)

Digital Transformation – What It Means To You

So, how can digital transformation impact the bottom line at your company? Here is a list of digital transformation benefits:

  • Increase customer engagement
  • Increase NPS scores
  • Higher traffic
  • Lead generation
  • Greater conversions

As you can see, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation report gives both executives and digital strategists insight into what companies are doing and how they plan on evolving with the digital future while enhancing their customer’s experiences. Will your company evolve?

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