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12 July 2018
Digital Transformation: does the buzzword live up to the hype? 

By Rob Green, Senior Recruitment Consultant 

Digital transformation is a topic at the forefront of the national conversation. We’re seeing huge potential for businesses to integrate ‘digital’ in their organisations and create a range of new efficiency gains from the project.  

With the GDPR deadline now a dusty mirage in the rear-view mirror, we’re in the midst of one of the greatest opportunities for digital transformation in years – one that’s backed up by the threat of fairly hefty fines for non-compliance. Now a legal requirement, businesses are required to make sure the data they hold is accurate and that they have a legitimate reason for holding (and processing) it (among a range of other specifications).  

This challenge is, quite simply, far easier for a business that has already integrated digital transformation. For those still working on ageing technologies, it’s an opportunity to rebuild from the ground up.  

There has, however, been a rumbling – one where business leaders don’t believe the buzzword lives up to the hype. So, is this the case?  

According to PwC research, fewer than one in five global companies actually have a digital leader in place. In comparison, over a third (35%) of UK companies have appointed a specialist to drive digital transformation – 16% higher than the global average. Notably, 60% of all total digital transformation leaders have been hired in the last two years.  

Martin Roets, Strategy& Director at PwC, noted that: “Whilst there was some hype around this role as it emerged, many companies are beginning to realise the benefits of having a digital leader in place and it’s a position that is likely here to stay. 

It’s no secret that digital transformation has been hyped beyond its capabilities. It follows 4G, AI, chatbots and big data. Gartner, the analyst house, has even developed their own ‘hype cycle’ – beginning with the Innovation Trigger, exploding towards the Peak of Inflated Expectations, falling back down to the Trough of Disillusionment, and then slowly rising again to the Plateau of Productivity.  

Digital Transformation, at this point, is sat in the Trough of Disillusionment, slowly building up a business case for its use beyond the hype.  

The hype surrounding a product or offering often does not correlate with how useful that technology will be in the long-run.  

CIO.com recently released its top examples of real-world success stories around digital transformation.  

Armstrong World Industries, a ceiling manufacturer, saw through-the-roof IT spending. Business leaders didn’t know what they were getting for their money. Their digital transformation strategy increased the quality of their product through lean and agile ways of working.  

Domino’s Pizza’s digital transformation efforts saw them allow hungry customers to place orders through any device (smartphone, smart TV, or smartwatch) through its AnyWhere platform. Customers can also, reportedly, order by tweeting or texting emojis. For the pizza giant, it means fewer barriers to customers ordering their product, and as a result, a greater number of orders made.  

IDC now predicts that 40% of all tech spending, in excess of $2 trillion in 2019, will be spent on digital transformations, and it’s clear why.  

While the hype around digital transformation has been truly staggering, the actual potential of the technology has a number of applications in the real-world. Today, the buzzword doesn’t live up to the hype – very little can match the peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle. What it does do, is provide a valuable avenue for businesses to become even better than they were before – in whichever way fits their business best.  

At RedRock Consulting, we champion progress for our clients. For our candidates, we find the unfindable roles. Get in touch with us today.