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Transformer

Issue 15 2018

The phrase ‘digital transformation’ is used extensively by technology companies and technologists. But its haphazard usage through an increasingly wider populace is potentially detrimental to its meaning.

A 2016 blog on MSDN by J.D. Meier, director of Digital Business Transformation at Microsoft Digital Advisory Services, summarises the situation nicely. He writes: “Digital transformation can be elusive if you can’t define it. Lucky for us, there’s no shortage of definitions for digital transformation.”

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Meier goes on to list definitions from Wikipedia, Altimeter, Capgemini and MIT, and Agile Elephant. As you might expect, Microsoft also has its own definition. We believe that digital transformation is about reimagining how you bring together people, data, and processes to create value for your customers and maintain a competitive advantage in a digital-first world.

Microsoft’s approach to digital transformation relies on four pillars that are central to that transformation:
• engage customers
• empower employees
• optimise operations
• transform products.


Critics looking for more specifics of which digital technologies should be included or a step by step guide of how to achieve digital transformation might argue these various definitions are quite broad. There is, however, a reason for the high-level definition for digital transformation – every organisation is different. Each organisation’s journey of digital transformation is unique, because they start from different places, have a wide range of technologies in place, operate in various sectors, or locations, and have different strategic objectives. Ultimately every digital transformation journey is different because every organisation is different.

In this edition of Transformer, we’re looking at digital transformation of the organisation with a focus on the role that the IT enterprise plays in this. What are the key considerations that must be made for the IT in order to enable the wider organisation to transform?

You’ll find articles in these pages offering advice on how to deal with the disruption brought about by international digitally-enabled players, some fundamental technology considerations to address, as well as the issues around trying to transform your supplier ecosystem. We also look at the dichotomy created now employees are technologically enabled to work from anywhere, and yet many corporates are moving into centrally-located, purpose-built new head offices. There are also a couple of case studies that provide real-world examples of transformation – AutoTraderSA, which has now dropped its print format in favour of a digital model, and Sasol, which has modernised its IT infrastructure to be more agile.

I hope you find the content in this edition thought-provoking and interesting.



Enjoy the read.



Ulrike Weitz
Editor
uweitz@microsoft.com


Ulrike Weitz
Editor

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