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Digital Transformation for the Busy Executive

Modernizing Software Development to Improve Your Business

by Richard Seroter, Derrick Harris, and Michael Coté

Wrapping your mind around what exactly “digital transformation” is—and, more importantly, what to do about it—can be difficult. In my experience, “digital” is a catch-all phrase for “doing new things with IT.” That could mean anything from moving desktop management to virtual desktops, using SaaS more, or selling insurance policies and industrial solvents on Instagram.

When I say “digital transformation,” I mean something more precise: modernizing your software development process to improve your business. Last year, Gartner reported that 49% of CIOs said that their organizations had already changed or were in the process of changing their business models to be more “digital.” What does that mean, exactly? For retailers, this often means omnichannel programs; for manufacturers, it often means IoT; for governments, it often means better service request management; for banks, it often means improved customer service and enabling new payment features. The list goes on.

Key to this is always asking how your business is improving and, at its height, how you develop new business models, products, and services because you’ve now mastered software. Usually—as you’ll see in the first article collected here—this means paying close attention to the actual humans using your software and designing better software in small release cycles, at least a week if not a few days. You’ve become one of those “tech companies” that we all read so much about—just, hopefully, much more profitable! As Forrester’s Jeffery Hammond and John Rymer put it in one of my favorite reports from this year:

Digital transformation is a fancy term for customer innovation and operational excellence that drive financial results.

Over the past five years, I’ve been lucky to talk with many large organizations that are benefiting from this fancy term. My coworkers and I get to hear not only how organizations are improving and innovating their businesses, but also how things have gone wrong.

Collected in this booklet are a small selection of recent pieces and cases on digital strategy, mostly from Richard Seroter, but also from Derrick Harris and me. They represent a small slice, but a savory and substantial one. Enjoy!


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