Video: Why a Digital Project Isn’t Digital Transformation | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

In this video, Partner Cecilia Edwards explains how many organizations are confusing digital projects with digital transformation and explains the differences between each.


Digital is all the conversation these days. And in particular, we hear a lot of people talking about digital transformation. But when you peal back the onion and see what they’re really talking about, not everybody’s talking about the same thing when they say “transformation.”

Many people are talking about what we’d call digital projects. When you look at things like social and mobility and analytics, even Internet of Thing, cognitive, and artificial intelligence. All of those things are digital technologies. But just because you’re using a digital technology doesn’t mean you’re in the process of a digital transformation.

A digital project is one that really takes those digital technologies and applies them to the same business model, to do things like reduce cost, improve quality, or improve efficiency. All of those things are projects.

Now, when you get to transformation, that’s a whole other story. Those same technologies can be applied in new ways. They can be applied to improvements in the customer experience, the employee experience, or business transformations. And when we talk about digital transformation here at Everest Group, what we’re talking about is the use of those digital technologies to drive a change in your business model.

Everybody’s familiar with all the disruptors. Uber disrupting the taxi business. AirBnB disrupting hotels. What they did was not just make incremental improvements in how those things were done, they changed the business model.

Now, we’re not suggesting in any way that all businesses need to completely disrupt their industries. But what we are suggesting is that those digital technologies have the opportunity to drive so much change that existing companies, mature companies, need to reevaluate their business models in a way that’s going to allow them to take advantage of the capabilities that those technologies bring to the table in a way that causes them to challenge the status quo assumptions of how you do your business and how you deliver value. That is what we call digital transformation.

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