Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Digital Transformation: Patterns for Success

The subject of Digital Transformation is on everyone’s mind. This session delivered by Loni Stark, Senior Director of Strategy & Product Marketing, Adobe, was one of over half a dozen on the same subject at Adobe Summit this week.

How do we define Digital Transformation?

This depends on who you ask. Everyone defines digital transformation differently.

Wikipedia defines digital transformation as “the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”

Others, like Altimeter, define digital transformation as “the realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.”

But, as Stark explains, there is a piece missing from both of these; digital transformation allows for infinite scale.


Why do organizations fail?

Many businesses have made attempts at transforming digitally, but are unsuccessful. There are key reasons this occurs:

  • There is a lack of, or misalignment of, executive support across the board.
  • Old metrics don’t align with new goals, or departments are looking at disparate customer- vs business-centric metrics.
  • They think it’s a “Big Bang” scenario, instead of the series of iterations it actually is. Think scope creep, and testing and learning as you go.
  • Those digital laggards have that “Oh Crap” moment, and quickly jump on board.
  • Lack of foresight or planning into the future.
  • Not realizing digital IS the business, which creates blind spots.
  • The technology they choose doesn’t support their organization.

Think strategy first, THEN technology.



Kodak finally filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and many myths remain about the why and how this happened. It is said that Kodak failed to shift to a digital universe, but they invented the first digital camera. With digital photography, comes photo sharing. Kodak purchased the first photo sharing platform, Ofoto. What Kodak failed to do was make those infinite calculations, to scale, and become a digital experience business.

Stark asked us to consider the automotive industry. Changes seem to be moving at warp speed. How would you describe your vehicle? Is it a) Transportation? b) Entertainment? c) Service Business? Or is it part, or all of these things?


Guidance on Adapting the Patterns

Regardless of the industry you’re in, there are guides to adapting patterns:

  1. Setting the right goals.
    1. Start by investigating what’s broken.
    2. Where are the opportunities?
      1. Look at where the volume of your business is, and market trends.
    3. What are your customers’ preferred channels?
  2. Organization constrictions
    1. You can focus on the functional aspects of your organization, like a particular channel or touchpoint
    2. Or go cross functional, and focus on one particular journey
    3. Focus on a specific mindset: Marketing, Technology, User Design
      1. Strategy
      2. Ability to use your products
    4. Process to maturity
      1. Early testing
      2. Later stage governance


Patterns for Success

Stark explained the three main patterns for success. Every organization is different, so follow the path that makes the most sense for you.

Experience-Based Foundation

digital transformation experience foundation

  • Experience Design and Creation is a common layer for content, audience, campaigns and personalization
  • Scalable to build the experience management and delivery foundation to scale in real time
  • Extensible to provide a modern extensible experience-based foundation
  • Security must be prebuilt and engineered into every layer
  • Analytics should be pre-engineered in EVERY channel


Culture of Content Velocity

digital transformation content velocity

How do behaviours change the content offered up?

For Marketing in particular, measure for results and actionable insights

  • Interaction
  • Engagement
  • Value metrics


Connecting the Experience

digital transformation connecting experience

If you are focusing on one particular journey, there are five steps:

  1. Create a journey map
  2. Prototype the experience
  3. Analyze, and revise prototype
  4. Roll out and optimize
  5. Automate engagement


What’s Around the Corner?

The future is full of possibilities, and we are already seeing some exciting new things.

  • Virtual vs Augmented Reality
  • (virtual is where digital is infinite)
  • IoT – every device could be connected, physical objects under control of your mobile device
  • AI – will augment capabilities, not replace them


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