Digital transformation is not for the faint hearted – MIT Sloan

Successful digital transformation requires a significant cultural transformation at leadership level and executives need to adjust to a world of high risk taking. That’s the message from the top conversation starter among the digerati according to the results of this week’s Which-50/KINSHIP digital Chatter Report.

Each week Which-50 and Kinship digital test the interests of the digital community and identify the most influential conversations around the globe. Once a week we focus on digital transformation and this week there were over 20200 mentions of the key terms we track — another significant increase on the last week.

The most popular social share was an article from the Financial Times reviewing an MIT Sloan study from earlier this year called Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation

In its story the FT quotes Phil Simon, a report contributor and business author, saying “For every Google, Amazon or Facebook taking major risks, hundreds of companies are still playing it safe.”


And says Simon that’s about the worst thing they can do, as they are simply surrendering the field to the disruptors.

For their part Simon’s MIT Sloan co-authors argue, “Conservative companies that avoid risk-taking are unlikely to thrive — and they’ll also lose talent, as employees across all age groups want to work for businesses committed to digital progress.”

Also popular this week was a post by Craig Brown linking to a story in CIO called “How digital transformation is disrupting IT outsourcing”. In it  Brad Peterson partner and co-leader of the business and technology sourcing practice of law firm Mayer Brown argues;

“Traditional sourcing also focuses on the cost of meeting requirements. Digital age services often cost more but provide new benefits such as new big data insights, connections to mobile customers and flexibility on volumes. Yesterday’s contract will not meet your needs for digital age services. You can’t rely on traditional assurances on good and workmanlike performance by qualified people when the services are performed primarily by machines.”

And he suggests that “Little has been done to integrate digital age products with corporate ecosystems.”

Actually that’s also pretty typical in the non outsourced world as well.

Click Bait

Meanwhile Forrester Research’s Steven Peltzman offer’s five steps to take digital disruption from theory to reality. Actually he asks five questions. Pitched at CIO’s, Peltzman’s bon mots include;

  1. Are you close to your customers?
  2. Can you innovate on your own mainstream platforms, quick and dirty?
  3. Do you use the same tools that startups use to go fast?
  4. Do you have an official program to innovate and try new things with your customers & clients?
  5. Do you partner with small innovative companies?

In fairness to the author we’ll point you towards his blog if you want a little more clarity around the possible answers

Very Bloody Big Data company HortonWorks describes how it says Hadoop is transforming manufacturing.


As an example it offers bid data’s ability to assure the just-in-time delivery of raw materials

Manufacturers want to minimize the inventory that they keep on hand and prefer just-in-time delivery of raw materials. On the other hand, stock-outs can cause harmful production delays. Sensors and RFID tags reduce the cost of capturing supply chain data, but this creates a large, ongoing flow of data. Hadoop can store this unstructured data at a relatively low cost. That means that manufacturers have more visibility into the history of their supply chains and they are able to see large patterns that might be invisible in only a few months of data. This intelligence can give manufacturers greater lead-time to adjust to supply chain disruptions. It also allows them to reduce supply chain costs and improve margins on the finished product.

“Manufacturing managers try to do three basic things: increase volume, reduce cost and improve quality. Without the right technology, these goals might seem to conflict,” the author’s note.

What the customer wants


Finally, Frank Feather shares a bit of comic eye candy with a pic-tweet entitled, “WHAT THE CUSTOMER REALLY WANTED: Hopefully, enterprise-wide digital transformation will help solve this. :-)”



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