Welcome!

FinTech Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Digital Transformation: It’s the Customer, Stupid! | @CloudExpo #DX #Cloud #Agile

One of the core tenants of organizational change is that the leader must create a compelling vision of the future

Digital Transformation: It's the Customer, Stupid!
By Charles Araujo, Intellyx Principal Analyst

If you cannot explicitly articulate how investing in a new technology, changing the approach or re-engineering the business process will help you achieve your customer-centric vision of the future in direct and measurable ways, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

At Intellyx, we spend a lot of time talking to technology vendors. In our conversations, we explore emerging new technologies that are either disrupting the way enterprise organizations work or that help enable those organizations to cope with disruption.

The rate at which new companies and new technologies are emerging is staggering, and it can be difficult to keep up - even for those of us whose sole job is to do so. It's no wonder, therefore, that so many people draw a straight line between the concept of digital transformation and these emerging technologies. Unfortunately, it's the wrong line.

One of the core tenants of organizational change is that the leader must create a compelling vision of the future before any real change will occur. People must come to believe in this vision and must be able to see themselves within it before they will do the hard and often threatening work of changing their behavior.

By definition, digital transformation is an exercise in organizational change. Therefore, it is essential that anyone leading a transformational effort craft this compelling vision of the future. And that's why connecting digital transformation to emerging technologies is so dangerous: it's the wrong vision.

Digital Transformation's Philosophical Center
Digital transformation is not and has never been about technology. Technology is the engine that powers it, but the true essence of digital transformation has always been about changing the way organizations - and even the whole of society - work.

On a macro scale, we often talk about digital transformation as the fundamental shift in how organizations structure themselves and how their leaders manage and lead them - with technology underpinning the transformation.

The challenge with that definition is that it sounds so, well, big and gnarly. Changing the fundamental ways that you structure, manage and lead an organization is not just something you do on a whim. It takes courage, a whole lot of resources and a willingness to bet your organization's future - not to mention your career - on the outcome.

As a result, too many organizations are willing to accept a lighter, less destructive - and less risky - version of digital transformation. Whether by focusing on the technology or by setting only small, incremental goals and simply slapping the transformation moniker on it, many business and technology leaders are unwilling to step up and put forward a compelling vision of the future that represents this kind of fundamental change.

But it doesn't need to be that hard or complex. The key to making digital transformation less big and scary and to being able to create a compelling vision that will lead the organization forward is to get down to its philosophical core: the primacy of the customer.

The Shift to Customer Centricity
The full realization of digital transformation is an immense and involved process (for a visual representation, check out our digital transformation poster). There are a lot of moving parts that cover everything from those emerging technologies to the re-envisioning of business models to new approaches to IT execution and business management - and plenty more in between.

But at the center of all of those moving parts for every real digital transformation story is the shift to customer centricity and its emergence as the foundational driver of change. The principal underpinning of the transition out of the industrial age and into the digital era is the empowerment of the customer.

In the industrial age, it was all about mass producing a product or service. Organizations focused their basic operating paradigm on creating efficiency and eliminating waste so that they could reduce costs to either increase earnings or create competitive advantage.

The consumerization of technology changed all of this. New competitors found that they could disrupt industries by empowering the customer and offering them choice and flexibility. The digital era fundamentally represents a shift away from the mass-market operating paradigm to a customer-centric one.

At Intellyx, we call this phenomenon the ‘primacy of the customer,' and understanding its true meaning will help you craft your digital transformation vision, apply emerging technologies appropriately and keep your organization on the right path as you move forward.

Your True North: The Customer
When you boil down all of the complexity of digital transformation to this core idea of the primacy of the customer, it gets much simpler - and more meaningful. Many of the crazy stories we hear about digital transformation programs gone wrong are almost always because this focus either never existed or was lost along the way.

The easiest way to use this idea in your transformational efforts is to start by crafting your future vision with the primacy of the customer in mind. If your vision does not put the customer at the center of the story, you're almost certainly off base.

A compelling vision told from the customer's perspective ensures that you will not be overly focused on the technology, the organizational design or any other inward facing construct.

Once you have created that customer-centered transformational vision it should then become what we call your ‘true north.' Like ancient sailors using the north star to orient themselves in open waters, your vision should become the overriding benchmark by which you measure your efforts and decisions.

When you use it correctly, it is an incredibly powerful and simple mechanism to check yourself and your organization and ensure that you're making the right decisions for the right reasons. You can evaluate even the most technical project or decision in this way.

If you cannot explicitly articulate how investing in a new technology, changing the approach or re-engineering the business process will help you achieve your customer-centric vision of the future in direct and measurable ways, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

If you can, on the other hand, then you should be moving full steam ahead.

The Intellyx Take
The digital transformation stakes are enormous. But you don't need to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Digital transformation is an ongoing journey that demands a fundamental shift in almost every aspect of how organizations function. It's heady stuff, to be sure. But at its core, it all boils down to the primacy of the customer.

Organizations who fail to recognize this fundamental truth will struggle with their transformational efforts and see massive investments of time and money spin out of control. Or, just as likely, they will fail to take the bold steps necessary to actually transform anything.

Both outcomes will be a result of losing (or never having) sight of their true customer-focused vision. Those organizations, however, that can craft this vision and then keep it at the center of their efforts will realize the true promise of digital transformation.

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 source: Nick Youngson.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
There is only one world-class Cloud event on earth, and that is Cloud Expo – which returns to Silicon Valley for the 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 31 - November 2, 2017. Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers. Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and service...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akvelon will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Akvelon is a business and technology consulting firm that specializes in applying cutting-edge technology to problems in fields as diverse as mobile technology, sports technology, finance, and healthcare.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...