Two Types of Digital Transformation

There are two types of digital transformation. First, literally. You had an analog process (booking appointments at the barber shop with phone and paper, planning tanker refueling schedules with a white board), and now they’re replaced by pure software. These transformations are often about optimizing an existing business process, gaining huge cost and time efficiencies (bottom line revenue, profit) and resulting in higher customer productivity and satisfaction (top line revenue, “growth”). You might call this sustaining in the innovator’s dilemma canon.

Then there’s creating new business and innovating existing ones. Here, you use custom written software to create a new line of business (in-Home hair cuts) or make an existing one better (ordering pizza from an Apple Watch, using drones to do auto accident claims, entering a new market, wealth Management for lower income people, on-demand [uber like] Long-hail trucker scheduling).

The line between the two can be blurry (is using drones for claims inspections really just changing an analog process to digital? A better one might be doing spot/temples insurance [i want to buy a three hour policy for broken limbs and such minutes before I climb into a zip line, grocery curb-side or home delivery]). But don’t get too worked up about it: the work you end up doing ends up being the same.

The point of the distinction is more to make sure you don’t forget about one or the other. Sometimes you need a dramatically new line of business enabled by software, and sometimes you just need to transform a whiteboard into an app.,, @cote,,