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In a recent conversation I had with a peer in the industry, he asked me to explain how Vitalyst helps its clients as they embark on digital transformation journeys. I presented Vitalyst’s strategy, but I realized that our ideas about digital transformation were vastly different—as the definition of digital transformation has evolved and expanded over the past few years.

Take, for example, the findings from PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey. Business leaders were asked how their organizations define digital—and the answers varied remarkably. While most respondents (94 percent) equated “digital” mainly with technology, only a small fraction (6 percent) defined it as “going beyond technology alone to reflect a mindset that embraces constant innovation, flat decision-making, and the integration of technology into all phases of the business.”

The results of this survey suggest that many organizations don’t fully understand the importance of culture change in digital transformation—even though digital transformation has been in our consciousness for a decade.

Considering this, it’s critical that we pause for a moment early in the year to answer two important questions: First, what does digital transformation mean today for organizations? And, second, how does Vitalyst enable its clients to achieve it?

The key word in the first question is “today”—the definition of digital transformation has evolved since it first entered the business lexicon. Early on, digital was synonymous with IT. It meant applying new technologies to existing processes to increase efficiency. It meant doing the same thing, but with new tools.

Over the years, digital has matured, evolved, and expanded beyond IT’s walls. Today its definition varies from organization to organization, but broadly describes using new tools to do things differently—to innovate, grow, and achieve a competitive edge.

Thought leaders from Gartner, MIT, Forrester and other firms have helped to clarify the definition of digital transformation, and agree that the human experience is key to digital success.1

Indeed, organizations like ours, which provide services and solutions to guide their clients toward digital success, must not only grasp the broader concept, they also need to be able to understand each client’s unique needs. Our experience has taught us that the underlying challenge is that many organizations fail to recognize that people are at the heart of change.

Thought leaders from Gartner, MIT, Forrester and other firms have helped to clarify the definition of digital transformation, and agree that the human experience is key to digital success

The idea that people are the core of digital transformation is becoming more widely accepted. Business leaders, researchers, and others are beginning to understand that it is not enough to focus on the technology alone.

Which leads us to the second question posed earlier in this post: How does Vitalyst enable its clients to transform digitally—to innovate, grow, and create a competitive edge? The answer is simple: Putting people at the center is what we do, and what we’ve always done since the company’s inception in 1992.

Our PROPEL methodology™ is testament to our human-centered approach. By mapping out four key stages of digital adoption, the Vitalyst PROPEL methodology™ enables clients to understand why, how, and when to best help employees. It also drives development of a broader strategy for cultivating proficiency and a chameleon-like ability to adapt to change.

We have a lot planned for the new year—we will strengthen our human-centered approach by expanding upon our services and solutions portfolio, while ensuring that our commitment to customer experience never wavers. We will continue to build alliances with trusted partners to ensure our joint clients are focused on humanizing technology. We have learned much as a company over the past 25 years, but the most important lesson has been that, to achieve success, people must be your driving force.


1. In a Harvard Business Review article, Tom Puthiyamadam, Global Digital Services Leader at PwC and one of the authors of the 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, notes the importance of the human experience. “Businesses must think critically about how their digital initiatives will affect the experience of customers and employees, as even the most well-intentioned initiatives can have unforeseen impacts on people,” he writes.

The sentiment is similar at Gartner Research—the firm advises CIOs to build digital skills throughout their organizations, not just in IT.

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