Business or Digital Transformation?

Written by Michael Fulton

Michael Fulton is a member of the CC&C advisory board. He is Associate Vice President of Technology Strategy & Innovation at Nationwide, a US Financial Services company and an adjunct faculty member at The Ohio State University. Mike also serves on the governing board of The Open Group, an IT industry standards body.

Published May 22, 2017

Digital Transformation – A Bit Misunderstood

Everywhere you look people are talking about Digital Transformation. But very rarely do they explain what they mean. Every once in a while, people bring in the term Business Transformation, but they often don’t define that either. I thought I’d take a few minutes and share my views.

When I think about Business Transformation, I think of driving discontinuous change in an enterprise, usually in response to external forces. Harvard Business Review said it very well: “Business transformation is about making fundamental changes in how business is conducted in order to help cope with a shift in market environment.”

In today’s world, when I think of Business Transformation, I think of 3 key elements:


  • Primarily focuses on customer-facing areas of business and the extended enterprise
  • Typically transforms the business model using IT


  • Primarily focuses on how work gets done inside an enterprise
  • Typically transforms business processes using IT

IT Functional

  • Primarily focuses on how work gets done inside IT dept within an enterprise
  • Typically transforms IT Management processes using IT

Historically, each of these transformations is enabled by bringing technology innovation to bear as part of the change.

The Role of Technology Innovation

  • Primarily focuses on newer, cutting edge technical capability that can be applied in an enterprise
  • Typically is an enabler of the above transformations in some way

Our Why for business transformation is to support new business strategies. We know our Whats – the 3 key elements of transformation along with technology innovation as the enabler. What we are missing is the How.

In today’s digital world, Enterprise Architecture is the How, the best method for delivering business transformation for the enterprise.

If you would like to learn more about how EA and it fits with Business Transformation, check out my webinar co-hosted by industry expert Jason Bloomberg:


In this webinar, you will learn

  • Key tips to help your CIO see the value of EA
  • What needs to be different about EA in a Digital Transformation world
  • What you can do today to restart your EA program

You can also grab the slides on SlideShare.




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