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May 25, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 4:55pm

Digital Transformation

The phrase digital transformation has done the rounds for years but means different things in different ages

By Sam

The application of all things digital to all business processes continues apace. But digital transformation means different things to different people dependent on their role and most importantly their age.

Once it meant moving from analogue processes to digital technology. Think ledgers to financials. Or paper to electronic documents or medical X-rays moving from film to HD screens.

Today’s digital transformation means one thing for IT and can mean something completely different for the wider business.
But for both it is now an ongoing journey – some say it is an ongoing journey with the cloud, or clouds as the final destination.

For many of today’s IT professionals, the digital transformation of business is where they built their careers. Moving from mainframe and mini-computer to client server from proprietary operating systems to open systems and then industry standard Wintel was and an is the ongoing digital transformation life of an IT professional. And even now it continues from on-premise to hosted to cloud.

IT professionals spend much of their time maintaining, fixing, and tuning.

But custom, customer experience and user interaction are the new digital transformation outcomes.

Consumerisation and web type experiences are pushing IT to accelerate the pace of change on everything from mobile access to big apps to omni-channel customer engagement.

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But for the new breed of IT professional, of coder or architect it is not the old proprietary world that is the career path to riches. They see digital transformation in a whole different way.

Large enterprises are having to work hard to attract the right people with the right skills. And those skills are about working in Dev Ops, working with Spark, Kafka, working in an agile fashion, working on fast iterations from short development cycles.
For the new breed of digital transformers there is not separation between the IT and the business.

The IT is the business. IT is the platform and the catalyst for change. If it doesn’t have a business outcome then it doesn’t get done. Two thirds of CIOs reported this week that CEOs want projects that make money against one third that want projects that save money.

For apps, for web campaigns for marketing this is all well and good say the veterans of large scale enterprise wide application roll out campaigns – but someone has to run the business. And while they are right, the direction of travel is inexorable. Zach Nelson, CEO of Netsuite told me recently, the cloud is the final architecture, everything will be built there.

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