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Digital Transformation Is the Buzziest Buzzword in B-to-B Today

March 05, 2018 | By Marisa Kopec

  • Digital transformation is the buzziest buzzword in b-to-b; the problem is that it means fundamentally different things to different organizations
  • If organizations don’t take the right approach, their digital transformation investments will be wasted
  • To guide our clients to a successful digital transformation, we are debuting the SiriusDecisions Transformation Model at Summit 2018

One of the privileges of my job at SiriusDecisions is that I get to work with the coolest and fastest-growing b-to-b brands in the world. The b-to-b industry is sinking major investment into marketing to the theme of digital transformation. However, as my colleague Gil Canare mentioned in his recent blog post, our clients have expressed confusion and even frustration caused by a lack of truly understanding the underlying buyer needs of digital transformation to promote their organization’s offerings. To make matters worse, there may not even be internal alignment on what digital transformation actually means. The research on digital transformation that SiriusDecisions is currently conducting proves that we are collectively confused – ask 10 different companies what digital transformation means to them, and you’ll get 10 disparately different answers. 

We are all doing digital transformation.  But what are we really doing?  Digital Transformation

The concept of digital was born in mathematics. It started as a binary number system using two symbols way back in 1650 B.C. by ancient Egyptian mathematicians – a zero and a one. At its core definition, digital means a zero and a one. In the late 1930s, this binary arithmetic was used to figure out how to make digital circuits. It’s profound that two simple digits inspired the advancements in technology that we have witnessed over the last 50 years!

I always thought digital meant technology and didn’t know why we didn’t just refer to the theme as technology-driven transformation or technology-enabled transformation in the first place. My suspicion is that it had to do with the swing of IT buying moving outside of technology functions to the business side. In response to this shift, the market had to rename technology-enabled business transformation to capture the hearts and minds of the business side of the house that now owned the purse strings attached to the technology purchasing. “Digital” just has a better ring to it –  or maybe it’s something more?

Here is what we don’t think digital transformation means:

  • Purchasing a software application to change a business process
  • Embedding e-commerce into a Web site
  • Hiring a Millennial social media marketer
  • Investing in SEO and predictive analytics
  • A buyer need for a marketing program or campaign

The SiriusDecisions Transformation Model

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Marisa Kopec

Marisa Kopec is Vice President of Innovation and Product Management at SiriusDecisions. She is member of SiriusDecisions' Executive Leadership Team and also serves as a Research Fellow. Follow Marisa on Twitter @Marisa_Kopec.