Blog: Boo! Some ‘Scary’ Approaches to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is scary.

Digital transformation is scary. Maybe not Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger scary, but still scary nonetheless. But why? How could something that promises enterprises such value and increased revenue be considered so frightening?

It doesn’t matter where you are or what line of business you’re in, digital transformation is all around you. The digital business landscape is constantly evolving, as companies seek new ways to provide greater business value to their customers and drive revenue.

Amazon has changed the game for companies across industries, and the online retail giant’s commitment to innovation is forcing others to upgrade their technologies, processes, and overall business approaches to improve their ability to transact and ultimately, improve customer service. That means businesses are scrambling to do IT modernization, digital transformation, and basically whatever it takes to improve their ability to support customers and partners.

Digital transformation is scary because it’s a wholesale change in thinking for a lot of companies, something that threatens to turn internal IT technologies and workflows upside down. But taking the right approach will dramatically lessen just how scary digital transformation can be.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation has been defined as, according to The Enterprisers Project, “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”

Companies need a digital transformation plan in order to better serve their customers and stay ahead of the competition. A digital transformation strategy improves customer experience, digitizes your products, engages employees, and optimizes your offerings. While some of these benefits will be realized more quickly than others, they are all key cogs in the digital transformation wheel.

But as more businesses embark on the digital transformation path, the challenges that arise are real – and yes, they are scary. Undergoing a digital transformation is about more than deploying new solutions to simply stay afloat. Companies must embrace digital transformation to adapt their technologies and strategies to flourish in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.

Challenges of Digital Transformation

It’s the transformation part of digital transformation that tends to be the scarier part of the phrase. Transforming your enterprise means reshaping processes and modernizing solutions, and in turn, entails taking on all those legacy systems and processes that your company has relied on for years.

Some digital transformation initiatives fail to get off the ground because companies either don’t have the proper IT infrastructure in place, or they lack the skilled personnel and resources to make it happen. Additionally, the beginning stages of a digital transformation plan tend to start with a desire to improve one particular aspect or performance within an organization. But that approach often acts as a trigger for a broader transformation, which is sort of like the tail wagging the dog.

When companies have a consolidated strategy and a commitment to transforming across the enterprise, digital transformation becomes a little less overwhelming and a little less scary.

Tales of Transformation

Perhaps some of the more frightening digital transformation tales are causing businesses to be spooked.

In the past two years, what were once major retailers in Sears and Toys R Us have crumbled in part because they were too focused on their traditional buying and selling cycles. Because of the inability (or unwillingness to commit) to adapt, their business models became fundamentally flawed. They eventually lacked the digital business models needed to properly digitally transform their businesses and were too slow to evolve.

Some retailers, however, have made huge investments in digital transformation initiatives and are subsequently thriving. Macy’s and Target, for instance, have taken it upon themselves to strategically evolve in this new age of online retail.

With Amazon always looming, Macy’s restructured its entire business to truly focus on digital. It made the necessary digital transformation adjustments and now offers increasingly popular retail-as-a-service products and a vastly improved customer shopping experience.

Target is leveraging its network of 1,800 stores and turning them into strategic digital assets. Essentially, Target aims to make each store a hyper-local distribution center, meaning customers can either pick up their purchases as they always have or have them delivered the very same day. This directly takes a shot at one weakness in the Amazon model: Its home delivery usually takes at least two days.

These two retailers are asking the proper questions that allow themselves to adapt, such as:

  • What is the role of integration technology in my buying and selling cycles?
  • How can modernizing these cycles – which happen at the edges of digital ecosystems – help my company better compete to win in the age of digital transformation?
  • How can I leverage technology to get ahead and reduce risk to my business?

How to Address These Challenges

Digital transformation is very real, but for companies to truly get ahead, they must find ways to gain a distinct advantage over their competitors. Companies must do this through faster ROI and time to value, which are essential thrive in today’s business landscape.

To successfully execute digital business transformation, companies must:

  • Recognize that digital transformation is real and happening in every industry.
  • Be adept at managing digital ecosystems, where business value is created (and destroyed).
  • Enable frictionless, fluid business processes among ecosystem partners and technologies.
  • Modernize IT systems, so they can integrate their critical legacy systems with today’s new, modern SaaS applications.
  • Choose the right iPaaS, which is an ecosystem-driven cloud integration platform.

A focus on integration technology is critical because this is the foundation that holds everything together, and connects legacy systems with new applications and business processes. Today’s successful companies use integration to leverage digital ecosystems and business processes,  because this is where the most controllable business value lies. Additionally, integration enables organizations to easily embrace the cloud for all the flexibility and fluidity that it brings to business models.


Digital transformation can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be with the right technology, such as Cleo Integration Cloud, and the right technology partner. The ability to facilitate frictionless data interactions between businesses and across applications is the difference between companies that are successfully able to transform and those that fall short.

Cleo helps companies digitally remaster themselves by enabling the fluidity of multi-enterprise, multi-cloud, multi-application information flows that constitute meaningful and impactful business processes.

Download “The Common-Sense Guide to IT Modernization” to learn more how an ecosystem-driven integration platform enables enterprise agility, insulates organizations from disruption, and support digital business transformation.

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