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Digital transformation: managing the transition from digitised to digital

14th December 2015

This article first appeared on

Be prepared to change everything! There aren’t many instructions in business that are more alarming than that. But when it comes to going digital, organisations may find they have little choice.

Becoming a digital business is not a minor undertaking. After years of digitising individual processes and adding layers of web-enabled interaction to underlying operations, many organisations find themselves on the brink of a more fundamental transformation.

Consider utilities as an example. Over the past few years, consumers have been able to take their own meter readings and enter the data into a web portal. There are apps that help consumers track billing, and, to a limited extent, consumption.

But this is not the same thing as fully automated, smart energy generation systems in which smart meters transmit information about energy use to number-crunching servers, or analytics helping businesses make intelligent decisions about customer service, asset management, infrastructure development and investment.

In the same way, local and national governments have, over the past decade, embraced e-enabled delivery of services. You can apply for a parking permit online, for example, but you still have to send in a council tax bill to confirm your residence status – even though council tax bills are issued by the same organisation that issues parking permits. The backroom information remains in separate silos. Data is only partially joined up.

This is a story that is repeated time and time again: the front end is digitised, but behind the scenes, day-to-day processes remain the same. Not only does going digital offer advantages in terms of cost reduction, operational efficiency, and personalised customer engagement, in many cases it can be the difference between life and death...

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