Defining Digital Transformation with Ed Marx
The HCI Group was delighted to host the highly acclaimed Ed Marx in the first part of his webinar series on How to Enable Enterprise Digital Transformation. Marx has served as a CIO at some of the nation’s largest health systems and is now dedicating his time to help his fellow IT leaders on their digital journeys.
Utilizing what he has learned and researched along his own digital journey; Marx will address the complexities of digital transformation throughout his six-part webinar series. He looks to provide leaders with the tools and concepts required to develop comprehensive digital transformation strategies for their own organizations.
“When I formally started in this role, there were no playbooks out there. You could read a book from an academic or you could talk to a consultant, but they just spoke about the theory. No one out there had actually done it and could provide the formula.” – Ed Marx, Part 1: Digital Defined
Definition is the Foundation to Success
Defining Digital Transformation might seem like a very basic, simple step that isn’t necessary, but it is the essential foundation to build your overall strategy upon. As such, Marx dedicates this first session to “defining digital” and providing a little more insight around the subject.
“As we learn more about digital transformation, it becomes clear that no one person or organization has all the answers... There is no right or wrong answer to defining digital transformation, but that there is still a need for leaders and organizations to define it for themselves.” – Ed Marx, Part 1: Digital Defined
Guest speaker, Paddy Padmanabhan, offers the analogy that Digital is like Democracy when asked to provide a definition of digital transformation. If you ask anyone to define democracy, you are unlikely to receive a consistent definition from person to person, and especially if you compare the governments of different countries. There will be many differences, but there will also be many similarities, and this is something that we see with digital transformation. Similar terms will be used, such as data, analytics, experiences, cloud computing, human centred design, voice recognition. However, they are all essentially means to describing this phenomenon of this concept called digital transformation.
“You have to develop your own definition of digital transformation at the end of the day, just like every democratic country has developed its own definition of democracy.” – Paddy Padmanabhan, Part 1: Digital Defined
Every organization has its own definition of digital transformation, and they are all correct in defining it the way that they want to define it. An organization defines digital in the way that is in alignment with their own business model and what they are trying to sell or provide as a service.
What is digital transformation?
During the webinar Marx offers this short, simplified definition of digital transformation: “Improved experiences powered by tech, enabled by design.” He views digital transformation as nothing more than natural evolution of technology in the human experience. The focus has now shifted to experience over function and he urges that we now need to bring more human centred design into our digital transformation strategies and capabilities, as well as physical design.
“Digital transformation is a reimagining of the business through a combination of technology, data, people and processes” – Digital Healthcare Transformation, May 2020
A Shared Definition is Essential
Definition may seem basic, but it is foundational to success. Everyone needs to understand and commit to where you are headed in your organization. One simple challenge to test your shared understanding is to gather your executive team and ask them all to individually write down a definition of digital transformation. When Marx presented this task at his previous organization, he was surprised to be presented with over 20 different definitions from a small executive team. It made him realize the importance of going back to this seemingly basic step of establishing a clear definition in order to be able to move forward efficiently, effectively and with a shared understanding of the destination.
Determining Organizational Maturity
In 2019, Damo Consulting conducted research that analysed and classified the digital maturity levels of healthcare organizations across the US. Those at the lower level of maturity tended to be the entities that were looking at their electronic health record systems and leveraging whatever features and functionalities are available in the EHR system as a primary driver of digital transformation. About half of the hospitals and health systems in the US fall into this category.
At the higher level of digital maturity were larger health systems, such as Cleveland Clinic & Mayo Clinic, that looked at digital transformation in a wholistic enterprise wide fashion. They are taking a step back and looking at what they need to do to reimagine their own businesses, what kind of technology platform choices they need to make, and what strategic partnerships they should enter in to.
Ahead of the next webinar session, Marx proposes that you determine the digital maturity of your own organization and task yourself with writing your own digital transformation definition that aligns with your organizational needs, requirements and values. These two simple steps will provide you with the foundation you will need before you start learning the practical theory. In future sessions, Marx will then look to share new concepts to give you a robust and mature construct for your digital transformation strategy.
For those who were not able to attend, the recording of Part 1: Digital Defined is now available here.