Digital transformation is a hot topic. According to an IDC report, by 2020, 60% of all enterprises will have fully articulated an organization-wide digital platform strategy, and will be in the process of implementing it.

But is there any common ground between these digital transformation efforts? Based on our interviews with leaders, there certainly are a lot of common characteristics between drivers, targets and types of change even though the organizations we have interviewed are working in different industries.

Drivers for digital transformation

Very often markets, technologies and megatrends are the main drivers for digital transformation. This can probably be seen most clearly in the retail industry, where the pressure from moving from bricks and mortar stores to online stores has been huge for some organizations.

The driver with which the company itself can have the greatest effect is strategy. Very often the main driver for digital transformation is that the organization’s decision makers have chosen digital tools and channels as one of the strategy development areas.

In some industries such as banking or flying, regulations may have a huge impact on digital transformation. Here are all the drivers we identified in our interviews:

  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Market
  • Megatrends
  • Regulations

Targets for digital transformation

If the drivers for change had common characteristics between industries, could the same be said about the targets? Very often the target is to achieve better customer experience through using digital channels such as in online booking systems or in web stores. Sometimes digital technologies have allowed the invention of totally new products or services. Very often, organizations also aim to change their thinking and organizational culture to better adapt to the demands of a new era. These targets will lead organizations to achieve greater profitability and forge a competitive edge over their competitors.

  • Customer experience
  • New products and services
  • Organization culture
  • Competitive edge
  • Profitability

Types of change in digital transformation

Probably the most classical type of change is changing a physical product to a digital product. This is seen for example in CDs, DVDs, books and magazines becoming digital. The change does not need to extend to the actual product but could simply be in channels reaching to customers from, for example, retails stores to online web store.

Industrial companies can attain great gain and additional revenue from new digital services for their existing customers. One of the interesting industries is the auto industry, where technology has greatly improved the physical production chain through robotic manufacturing, 3D printing of spare parts and the reduction of shipping costs of car parts through better quality control measures.

  • Main product becomes digital
  • Additional services created
  • Utilisation of digital channels
  • Modern services and product development
  • Improved production chain