Digital transformation’ is undoubtedly one of the most common buzzwords of our times. Following this wave of modernization, most companies are undergoing varying extents of renovation.

The problem is whether companies are moving along the right path or not. How are you dealing with the challenges of an epochal shift that promises to impact businesses even more in the years to come?

Useful insights may be found in the 2016 State of Digital Transformation report by Brian Solis and the Altimeter team. This is the second edition of the research, and it comes out a couple of years after the first release. A proper perspective is to check what has changed in the meantime?

Even though everyone is talking about the digital transformation, it is pretty interesting to notice that there is no single view on the meaning of the word. We face one of those terms that means different things to different people.

One way or another, though, everyone is investing in technologies connected to the digital business shift. If you focus only on the adoption of the latest tools, however, you miss something critical. Technology, in fact, is just one side of the coin.

In the race to the digital leadership, the difference between followers and leaders comes down to one element: How holistic is the process inside the organization.

Simply put, is the digital transformation a concern of one single department (namely the IT department) or a shared common vision of the entire company? While IT remains influential in driving this business revolution, silos do not work well in our mobile ecosystem.

The digital transformation is “the realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.” (Brian Solis)

The value for customers mostly translates into an engaging, innovative, and seamless customer experience across all stages of the journey. In the age of Micro Moments, as defined by Google, the creation of amazing experiences is impossible without considering the role of mobile:

The smartphone and all other mobile devices “are completely upending traditional customer journeys. These mobile-first moments play out in common scenarios when someone is intent to do, buy, or learn something.

Mobile is the centerpiece of all things to come, but at the same time it is only the first piece of a disruption that will lead us to a customer journey that we can’t even imagine now: Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, cloud computing, just to name the ones already seeding.

The average organization will probably need to rethink their entire structure and ‘modus operandi’ - in the name of scalability, flexibility and resilience - to survive the impact of all these trends and new devices over time.

What comes out clearly, reading the report - based on the input of more than 500 digital transformation strategists and executives - is that “innovation has become a key priority in digital transformation efforts. This trend is rapidly gaining momentum as companies look to the startup ecosystem as a means to innovate and tap into the new expertise and talent often missing from more traditional organizations.

Here are four key findings from the 2016 State Of Digital Transformation, that you should take into account when planning your next moves:

  • The customer experience has established itself as the top driver of the digital transformation. 89 percent of marketers, in fact, is already convinced that the customer experience is the primary field of competition for businesses.
  • “Evolving customer behaviors and preferences” is cited by 55 percent of those responsible for the transformation as their primary catalyst. Only if you fully understand how your customers are changing, you will be able to respond with timely, personalized and relevant contents.
  • Only 54% percent of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey within the last year or are in the process of doing so. As said, the mobile shift has completely disrupted the customer journey. If you do not map the new behaviors, touchpoints and channels, you will walk in the fog.
  • A mere 20% of digital leaders are studying the mobile customer journey and/or designing for real-time micro moments in addition to customer journey work. The smartphone is the primary source of information for customers, even when they are in store. To engage them, you need to be there and everywhere.

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