This is a dangerous blog post. I’m a consultant and sometimes I come across a potential client who may recognize themselves here.

However, I hope this message guides good outcomes. It is a necessary yet sometimes painful message.

Digital Transformation is not just a marketing initiative

Dangerous words.

In many companies, the digital transformation project is led by a Digital Officer whose prior life was solely marketing. In those situations, it is often the case that the measures of transformation success are all about “customer loyalty” or a similar one-sided perspective.

I understand alignment. I understand it well. I’m a certified Balanced Scorecard Practitioner. I’ve created capability maps and Benefit Dependency Networks and Scorecards and Ishikawa diagrams for a dozen companies.

The places where digital transformation is LEAST successful are places where the measures of success boil down to a single customer measure.

That’s because digital transformation is about the customer, the product, and the company. Not just one. All three.

Data can be used to create new products and improve existing ones.

Process improvements can reduce the cost of goods as well as overhead in many ways, including technical automation and agile practices.

User Experience can change the relationship between the customer, the company, the (existing) product, and even upstream suppliers.

But your scorecard measure should reflect the balance of every aspect, not just customer attach (or loyalty, or satisfaction).

It’s not just marketing that is being transformed. It’s not just experience. It’s the whole show.

Or it’s not really transformation.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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