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It’s the Customer, Stupid! | @CloudExpo #AI #DX #SmartCities #DigitalTransformation

One of the core tenants of organizational change is that the leader must create a compelling vision of the future

Digital Transformation: It's the Customer, Stupid!
By Charles Araujo, Intellyx Principal Analyst

If you cannot explicitly articulate how investing in a new technology, changing the approach or re-engineering the business process will help you achieve your customer-centric vision of the future in direct and measurable ways, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

At Intellyx, we spend a lot of time talking to technology vendors. In our conversations, we explore emerging new technologies that are either disrupting the way enterprise organizations work or that help enable those organizations to cope with disruption.

The rate at which new companies and new technologies are emerging is staggering, and it can be difficult to keep up - even for those of us whose sole job is to do so. It's no wonder, therefore, that so many people draw a straight line between the concept of digital transformation and these emerging technologies. Unfortunately, it's the wrong line.

One of the core tenants of organizational change is that the leader must create a compelling vision of the future before any real change will occur. People must come to believe in this vision and must be able to see themselves within it before they will do the hard and often threatening work of changing their behavior.

By definition, digital transformation is an exercise in organizational change. Therefore, it is essential that anyone leading a transformational effort craft this compelling vision of the future. And that's why connecting digital transformation to emerging technologies is so dangerous: it's the wrong vision.

Digital Transformation's Philosophical Center
Digital transformation is not and has never been about technology. Technology is the engine that powers it, but the true essence of digital transformation has always been about changing the way organizations - and even the whole of society - work.

On a macro scale, we often talk about digital transformation as the fundamental shift in how organizations structure themselves and how their leaders manage and lead them - with technology underpinning the transformation.

The challenge with that definition is that it sounds so, well, big and gnarly. Changing the fundamental ways that you structure, manage and lead an organization is not just something you do on a whim. It takes courage, a whole lot of resources and a willingness to bet your organization's future - not to mention your career - on the outcome.

As a result, too many organizations are willing to accept a lighter, less destructive - and less risky - version of digital transformation. Whether by focusing on the technology or by setting only small, incremental goals and simply slapping the transformation moniker on it, many business and technology leaders are unwilling to step up and put forward a compelling vision of the future that represents this kind of fundamental change.

But it doesn't need to be that hard or complex. The key to making digital transformation less big and scary and to being able to create a compelling vision that will lead the organization forward is to get down to its philosophical core: the primacy of the customer.

The Shift to Customer Centricity
The full realization of digital transformation is an immense and involved process (for a visual representation, check out our digital transformation poster). There are a lot of moving parts that cover everything from those emerging technologies to the re-envisioning of business models to new approaches to IT execution and business management - and plenty more in between.

But at the center of all of those moving parts for every real digital transformation story is the shift to customer centricity and its emergence as the foundational driver of change. The principal underpinning of the transition out of the industrial age and into the digital era is the empowerment of the customer.

In the industrial age, it was all about mass producing a product or service. Organizations focused their basic operating paradigm on creating efficiency and eliminating waste so that they could reduce costs to either increase earnings or create competitive advantage.

The consumerization of technology changed all of this. New competitors found that they could disrupt industries by empowering the customer and offering them choice and flexibility. The digital era fundamentally represents a shift away from the mass-market operating paradigm to a customer-centric one.

At Intellyx, we call this phenomenon the ‘primacy of the customer,' and understanding its true meaning will help you craft your digital transformation vision, apply emerging technologies appropriately and keep your organization on the right path as you move forward.

Your True North: The Customer
When you boil down all of the complexity of digital transformation to this core idea of the primacy of the customer, it gets much simpler - and more meaningful. Many of the crazy stories we hear about digital transformation programs gone wrong are almost always because this focus either never existed or was lost along the way.

The easiest way to use this idea in your transformational efforts is to start by crafting your future vision with the primacy of the customer in mind. If your vision does not put the customer at the center of the story, you're almost certainly off base.

A compelling vision told from the customer's perspective ensures that you will not be overly focused on the technology, the organizational design or any other inward facing construct.

Once you have created that customer-centered transformational vision it should then become what we call your ‘true north.' Like ancient sailors using the north star to orient themselves in open waters, your vision should become the overriding benchmark by which you measure your efforts and decisions.

When you use it correctly, it is an incredibly powerful and simple mechanism to check yourself and your organization and ensure that you're making the right decisions for the right reasons. You can evaluate even the most technical project or decision in this way.

If you cannot explicitly articulate how investing in a new technology, changing the approach or re-engineering the business process will help you achieve your customer-centric vision of the future in direct and measurable ways, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

If you can, on the other hand, then you should be moving full steam ahead.

The Intellyx Take
The digital transformation stakes are enormous. But you don't need to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Digital transformation is an ongoing journey that demands a fundamental shift in almost every aspect of how organizations function. It's heady stuff, to be sure. But at its core, it all boils down to the primacy of the customer.

Organizations who fail to recognize this fundamental truth will struggle with their transformational efforts and see massive investments of time and money spin out of control. Or, just as likely, they will fail to take the bold steps necessary to actually transform anything.

Both outcomes will be a result of losing (or never having) sight of their true customer-focused vision. Those organizations, however, that can craft this vision and then keep it at the center of their efforts will realize the true promise of digital transformation.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image source: Nick Youngson.

Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.

Download Show Prospectus ▸ Here

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Track 1. Enterprise Cloud | Cloud-Native
Track 2.
Big Data | Analytics
Track 3. Internet of Things | IIoT | Smart Cities

Track 4. DevOps | Digital Transformation (DX)

Track 5. APIs | Cloud Security | Mobility

Track 6.
AI | ML | DL | Cognitive
Track 7.
Containers | Microservices | Serverless
Track 8. FinTech | InsurTech | Token Economy

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Download Show Prospectus ▸ Here

Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers.  

Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

Cloud Expo is the single show where technology buyers and vendors can meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. Sponsors of Cloud Expo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers.
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35-minute technical session
  • Online advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage.
  • Unprecedented PR Coverage: Editorial Coverage on Cloud Computing Journal.
  • Tweetup to over 75,000 plus followers
  • Press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts.

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Full Conference Registration Gold Pass and Exhibit Hall ▸ Here

Register For @CloudExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

Register For @ThingsExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

Register For @DevOpsSummit ▸ Here via EventBrite

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsors of Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

Secrets of Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here
Secrets of Cloud Expo Speakers ▸ Here

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-4, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Delegates to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 8 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, for three days of intense Enterprise Cloud and 'Digital Transformation' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and (IIoT) Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) Digital Transformation in Vertical Markets.

Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 21st Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

FinTech brings efficiency as well as the ability to deliver new services and a much improved customer experience throughout the global financial services industry. FinTech is a natural fit with cloud computing, as new services are quickly developed, deployed, and scaled on public, private, and hybrid clouds.

More than US$20 billion in venture capital is being invested in FinTech this year. @CloudExpo is pleased to bring you the latest FinTech developments as an integral part of our program, starting at the 21st International Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017 in Silicon Valley, and June 12-14, 2018, in New York City.

@CloudExpo is accepting submissions for this new track, so please visit www.CloudComputingExpo.com for the latest information.

Speaking Opportunities

The upcoming 21st International @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY announces that its Call For Papers for speaking opportunities is open.

Submit your speaking proposal today! ▸ Here

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

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