Chart of the Week: Digital Transformation: Consolidation vs. Navigation

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June 30, 2015 - Arlington, Massachusetts


Figure 1 -- Consolidation vs. Navigation


More than 80% of managers and strategists say that they are undergoing a digital transformation, according to a number of studies. Still, according to Brian J. Dooley, "the majority of decision makers view digital transformation strictly in terms of marketing. While marketing is clearly important -- greatly empowered by the emergent possibilities of mobility, cloud, and analytics -- it does not describe the totality of the transformation. A digital transformation also requires the capability to manage enormous volumes of data, to store and manipulate these volumes, and to engage every business process through the digital tools that are becoming available."

"With digital transformation," Dooley continues, "the emphasis must shift dramatically toward infrastructure, and that will require a better understanding of underlying networks and systems. It is important to note that this is a movement far beyond a simple evolution from a mainframe-centric concept. Instead of a finite, closed system that has easily understood inputs and outputs and a rigid logic, the new requirement is more like navigation through digital space (see Figure 1). Whereas older ideas of infrastructure saw a bounded universe of data that was structured, documented, and capable of being handled according to simple algorithms, the new view envisions a mass of digital information both inside and outside the company that cannot be easily restricted and must be accessible; that can be navigated more than contained; and that may be simultaneously manipulated, understood, followed, and analyzed by different forms of equipment in different locations and for different purposes. A video stream has the same status as a log from a security device, as a tweet from a child, as a document describing an enterprise architecture."

* Excerpted from "Enterprise Architecture and Digital Transformation," (Login Required) Business and Enterprise Architecture Update, Vol. 18, No. 8