Digital Transformation is Obsolete

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 11, 2020 10:17:50 AM / by John Bald

Digital Transformation as a business term has been overused and abused to the point where we should stop saying it.

It has joined the ranks of some of the other annoying and overused terms like giving 110%, putting lipstick on a pig, and synergy...just to name a few. Pick your favorite.

The beginning of it's demise actually started a few years ago and was cited in an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2018:

 CIOs to Everyone: Please Stop the Digital Transforming

"the term digital transformation has been overused, misused and hijacked to the point where it has become a meaningless catch phrase,"

- Scotts Miracle-Gro Company CIO Marc Sims. 

Read More and see how other CIO's are tearing this term to shreds.

The original definition is this:

The adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. 

That is one big umbrella for a term to stay relevant and maintain some sort of concise meaning.

big umbrella

But should digital transformation be permanently deleted from the business vocabulary? Maybe not.

In a piece in the Harvard Business Review (2018) on why so many digital transformation projects fail, Thomas H. Davenport and George Westerman defined digital transformation as follows, 

"Digital transformation is an ongoing process of changing the way you do business. It requires foundational investments in skills, projects, infrastructure, and often, in cleaning up IT systems. It requires mixing people, machines and business processes, with all of the messiness that entails.”

Read the full article

We need to come up with a new term to reflect this. Email your suggestions here

Companies like Shinydocs, that help large enterprise organizations with problems so vast that humans alone can no longer solve them, are performing feats that can be truly worthy of the term "Transformation" (it's 2020, the "digital" is implied)

Modern technologies like AI(Artificial Intelligence), NLP(Natural Language Processing), RPA(Robotic Process Automation) and ML(Machine Learning) are making the solution of these massive problems possible. 

Whatever the challenge of an organization is, whether it is finding every piece of data that contains PII(Personal Identifiable Information) to avoid litigation, creating relationships between previously siloed  applications, or creating a digital twin of a complex physical asset, all of these tasks are now doable and worthy of such a powerful term as Transformation.


But it's not going to be easy!

Projects that can be identified as truly transformative, have the potential to be complex and overwhelming. Without the proper expertise, leadership, guidance and good old hard work in place, they are up against a very high failure rate. Some improvements may come out of them, but they run the risk of not reaching their full potential impact.

Nothing worth doing should ever be easy.

One of the biggest challenges with these sorts of endeavors is that people do not like change.

There is going to be employee pushback!

Without successful change management, transformation efforts will fail to deliver results. Getting everybody on board and sitting in the right seat on the bus will help lead to a very rewarding and successful outcome.

Learn more on change management here


Make sure your Transformation initiatives have a plan. Reach out to experts that have been through this type of change and seek out vendors that not only have the technologies for Transformation, but the strategies to go along with them.

But you need to start now!

If you would like examples of how Shinydocs approaches this, please contact us at:







Topics: Enterprise, AI, Machine Learning, change management, Digital Transformation

John Bald

Written by John Bald

Recent Posts

Subscribe to Email Updates