We’ve heard “data is the new oil” so often it seems like it’s time to move on to “XXXX is the new data.” But the statement is more valid than ever. And, unlike black gold, virtually everyone has data in their backyard, just waiting to be..
The beginning of a new year is a good time to take stock. If you’re looking for a good team-building exercise to kick off 2019, try what I call the “Apollo 13 exercise:” Identify a difficult problem. Do some inventory. Dump all your stuff on a..
Does there exist, in the language of business and nonprofit leadership, any phrase more overused and yet misunderstood than “thought leadership”? (okay, “synergies” and “digital transformation” aren’t far behind, but you get my point). It seems..
Of all the technologies and buzz words in the headlines, one has to go pretty far down the list to find “messaging apps.” This is surprising, because messaging apps are in the middle stages of disrupting communications just as deeply as Uber and..
Most people want to feel special and unique when considering a purchase or transaction. They want to be recognized, catered to and treated as individuals with specific needs and requirements. Personal touches have long been a tool to motivate..
Many organizations, for-profit and nonprofit alike, remain baffled over how to create the right environment and culture for young professionals. Whether the goal is hiring and retention or attracting new society members at the early stages of..
The form and purpose of the modern scientific membership society is based on a template created by the guild system of early and late middle-ages Europe and the foundation of the Royal Society in England in 1660. The concept was simple:..
Many dPrism engagements revolve around significant transformations of how our clients think about, and operate, their businesses. We help them identify and execute on market opportunities, new digital products and services, new business models..
As Amazon becomes the second company to top a market capitalization of $1 trillion and investors are all agog over FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), what’s the single word you’d use to describe why these companies have been so..
We at Digital Prism Advisors are hardly the only ones to write about digital transformation. Some days it feels like a deluge of comments, content and hype. We’re honored that this blog ranks as a Top 25 source in this topic. Part of our value as..
I don’t follow sports. But years ago, I read a biography of a famous basketball player and it stuck with me. His approach to the game offers us a useful framework not just for sports, but for leading successful organizations.
From the days of the Gutenberg printing press until, oh, around the early 2000s, one rule seemed to hold firm: People would pay money for news that interested them, as long as it was easy to get, priced fairly and fresh when they got it. Along..
There are many reasons to like the agile development process. Its focus on adding value to a “minimum viable product” in iterative sprints is a great way to avoid waiting until the end of a project to see if you’re on the right track. Also, its..
In an age where data is one of the most valuable commodities in the world, organizations across the business landscape are racing to build or rebuild their data platforms to make sure they are equipped to meet the demands of an increasingly..
In the mid ‘90’s I was part of a very successful internet media start-up. As we grew, and as the market exploded into hypergrowth, I recall our CEO (a baseball fan) constantly repeating this simple phrase, “and remember, we’re only in the 1st..
Last week the Washington Business Journal published an article highlighting FiscalNote’s planned acquisition of CQ Roll Call, in which the author insightfully observed “The deal is just the latest example of a young upstart buying a traditional —..
Executives making substantial investments in new technology platforms and capabilities have a not-unreasonable expectation that their investments will have a lifespan of over a decade or more. This is particularly true for leaders of..
We often hear about the power of data. When gathered, curated, analyzed and leveraged properly, good data becomes information and information can trigger optimized actions. As a result, organizations can delight customers, connect members,..
As modern digital platforms replace old publishing models, any organization that earns revenue from publishing should learn to leverage its own “data exhaust.”
Successful organizations stay close to their customers and adapt to meet users’ changing needs. Start-ups have to do it just to survive the next week. Established companies are able to take a longer view, but given the pace of change, they are..
If you handle or manage your organization’s content, whether you work at a for-profit or nonprofit, you may occasionally feel stuck in a box: You’ve got some social media posts to push out, an annual report to finish, a white paper from Research..
By now you likely know all about the importance of the user experience (UX) in product design. Another angle on making your organization user-centric that’s getting more attention is CX, for “customer experience.” Simply put, CX seeks to give..
Disruptive innovation. Digital transformation. Data is the new oil. Each of these familiar idioms in the modern business lexicon is a reminder of the head-spinning velocity of technological change and its enormous impact on business behavior and..
City populations are growing rapidly in the United States and around the world. Migration from the suburbs and rural communities to metropolitan areas is being fueled by the promise of cultural experience and diversity, education, good jobs and..
Hepburn and Tracy. Gin and tonic. Yin and yang. Some pairs are just meant to be, especially when their combination is greater than the sum of their parts. Today, we should be adding “data” and “agile” to this list of inseparable pairs. While..
Is your future ‘serverless’?
Few aspects of business confound and irritate senior executives more than the IT’s addiction to trends, buzzwords and impenetrable acronyms, the seemingly endless complexity of the organization’s IT landscape, the..
When you’re running a nonprofit organization and focused on executing that strategic plan you wrote seven months ago, you know the world is changing around you. What can you do to get an outside-in perspective you can use to make course..
Persona non grata: Five pitfalls to marketing personas and how to avoid them
On March 20 Salesforce announced it had agreed to buy MuleSoft, a maker of API data integration software, for $6.5 Billion. The announcement was met with skepticism in some quarters, with..
Business-to-business publishers have been battling digital and market disruption now for more than two decades – with varying measures of success. The main culprit of disruption is the rise of the internet, which has forever changed how content..
The smart home of today is great. I love being able to shout my commands to hear music or check the news, use my phone to turn on my lights, lawn sprinkler or security system and use my laptop at work to inspect the perimeter of my yard.
As readers of my blog posts know, I am a huge Amazon fanboy. After competing against them for 10 years at Barnes & Noble and being a heavy customer and Prime member for the last decade, I feel it is not hyperbole to say that they are the best..
When the internet emerged as a new channel for content providers many publishing companies created “new media” divisions. Online distribution was seen as something new and “other,” requiring a distinct operating model that would insulate the core..
When you map out your customer’s online journey, think about each point of interaction your users have with your data. Consider how your customer reacts to both anything you send out as well as any experience your customer has when you are..
A former colleague from my newspaper days, who now publishes a high quality newsletter in the education sector, recently asked: “What’s the difference between news publishing and content marketing?”
Imagine a complete view of every digital interaction you have with your customer. Imagine every step of the customer journey feeding data into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, powered by a marketing automation platform able..
One of the biggest challenges businesses face in their ongoing digital transformation efforts is modernizing core legacy systems. Quite often these systems are highly customized. They’re also running older versions of software, which can be..
We’ve heard “data is the new oil” so often it seems like it’s time to move on to “XXXX is the new data.” But the statement is more valid than ever. And, unlike black gold, virtually everyone has data in their backyard, just waiting to be..
Clear vision and mission statements are the building blocks of a sound enterprise strategy. Whether you’re a for-profit business, or not-for-profit association, it’s essential to hone these statements into critical guideposts for your..
Marriott sells hotel rooms. PepsiCo sells food and beverages. Nike sells shoes and clothes. Your business sells things too: news, software, professional services, widgets…whatever. But deep down most people aren’t buying these things. What they..
Earlier this winter, Google launched an awful product: Google Pixel Buds Bluetooth headphones ($165), which were beleaguered by the unfortunate problem of not transmitting sound. (Here’s a Wired magazine review that enumerates the headphone’s..
Dear dBrief subscriber,
We hope you’ve been enjoying our weekly e-newsletter, which offers original insights from dPrism’s top consultants along with a compilation of headlines from the best thinking across the digital landscape.
As the new year..
Like most of us, I seem to find myself at the end of the year interacting more than usual with retail, travel and service companies and organizations. Holiday shopping and travel explain part of it, while end-of-year deadlines and extra time off..
Here’s a look back at our four most popular dBrief blog posts for 2017. We’ll return January 4 to start off 2018 with a new dBrief. Happy holidays to all our readers!
In last week’s edition of the dBrief, Paul Bonington wrote about the “accelerated disruption” that is forecast for 2018. There can be little doubt the technologies that sparked and shaped digital transformations over the past few years are..
It’s that time of year when the analysts, researchers and pundits “look behind to look ahead,” so let’s assess the impact of digital transformation in 2017 and forecast the trends for 2018 and beyond. One message is clear: There will be no..
There are few harder roles than being a transformational change agent at an established company in a legacy industry. These organizations have a lot invested in their existing model, which often means forces align to protect the status quo and..
Amazon’s announcements at re:Invent, its 2017 developer conference in Las Vegas last week, define the beginning of new era in IT. The company announced a raft of new managed services that enable customers to focus on extracting business value..
When you collaborate with a group of people to transform your company, by definition, you are inventing stuff as you go along. There is no specific playbook you follow. Each day differs from the one before it. And it can get pretty frenetic. You..
Have you ever looked at your product portfolio or your business model and thought “gee, if we could start over we would do this totally differently and become much more successful”? And have you wondered what causes the inertia that keeps your..
We’ve all heard flight attendants say “crosscheck” to each other just before take-off. Pilots and flight crew use that word to indicate that one person has verified the task of another (Are the doors secured? Bins closed?). The same kind of..
The content on your organization’s website is an asset. So, imagine for a moment that each piece you’ve published is one of your employees. Some questions would immediately come to mind: What is its job description? How hard is it working? How..
For years the Strata Data Conference has been a mecca for technology and business leaders, the place for sharing ideas and experiences and for measuring progress of the digital economy through a “big data” lens.
Does your company view selling PDF documents as proof your business is becoming more digital?
Investors and the boards that represent them are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to assessing digital transformation strategies. “Where are you in your digital strategy” is being asked with greater frequency and urgency across the..
“Fail fast, fail often and learn from your mistakes.” This mantra has long been touted by entrepreneurs and leaders of start-ups. But while many executives agree in principle with this philosophy, they struggle to incorporate the concept into..
Much of the value of trade and professional organizations is found in the networking and educational opportunities they deliver. When for-profit companies offer services that replace these traditional values, non-profits must look for other ways..
Automation has made a lot of progress, in the physical world with robotics as well as more recently in the virtual world of the services professions and industries. There are a lot of predictions about how automation will impact the white-collar..
I couldn’t be happier with my all-electric 2013 Nissan Leaf. For four years now I’ve been gleefully swooshing past gas stations. And it’s been in the shop only once, back in March, to upgrade the navigation software. Other than tires, brakes,..
Business and technology executives are nearly unanimous in their recognition of data as one of their most strategic assets. For many, data is the raw material of business. It’s an asset from which tangible value can be created. This conviction is..
The successful CEO must understand how best to translate a strategic vision into a clear execution plan. At dPrism we have worked with a number of our clients to improve their executional capabilities. I’ve distilled our learnings into five..
Digital transformation and innovation has cascaded through major global industries over the last decade. However, construction has lagged somewhat conspicuously behind. In fact, a recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute ranked..
Workforce automation brings to mind robotic arms assembling vehicles in Detroit, saving money for automakers by replacing humans who used to do those jobs. But these days automation isn’t restricted to manufacturing—and it can actually be an..
Two major digital trends in the workplace are changing the way we work, and enabling the millennial workforce in ways we have never seen before. The first trend is what I call the “app-itization” of the tools and platforms we all use, including..
Much has been written about how automation can reduce costs in an organization, but what about growing revenue? How can your company benefit from automation by reaching new customers and closing sales that are otherwise out of reach?
Recently, Amazon has been all over the news for its dramatic purchase of Whole Foods. I like this move for a variety of reasons, but primarily because I’m looking forward to seeing how the company reinvents the grocery shopping experience for its..
Faced with accelerating technological, social and economic change, we know businesses are fast becoming more responsive to market forces, and are more adept at thinking about and initiating critical transformations.
On an average day, my iPhone receives 22 notifications from the Nest camera in our house, eight open/close updates from our garage door, and an occasional email from our car detailing tire pressure and oil life. Last week, the fire alarm in our..
According to Google Trends, we hit “peak AI” in May 2017. In that month, Google searches for the term “artificial intelligence” in U.S. business and industry sources outpaced any period since March 2004 (when the AI film “I Robot,” with Will..
We at dPrism are often asked to summarize our approach to digital transformation in the enterprise. While specific technologies continue to rapidly evolve, this article, written by CTO Jonathan Murray, remains as relevant today as when it was ..
Not so long ago the mere mention of a data scientist would evoke images of Ph.Ds in white lab coats huddled around flashing video screens working their statistical magic, tuning complex algorithms in the search for patterns and insights. Such was..
One of my favorite things to do is to look at technology on the horizon and speculate on what I think will happen. How might different market segments be positively or negatively impacted [see previous posts on blockchain and Augmented Reality]?
Are your sales, marketing and product departments aligned and synchronized? Or is your organization pulling slightly to the left or the right, creating resistance to optimal market traction and revenue performance?
Apple announced the HomePod last week, the latest entry into the smart speaker market. Powered by Siri, Apple promises not just an intelligent assistant, but intelligent sound. Despite the high price tag, this device could be the hottest holiday..
Regardless of how you segment them, your customers have at least one thing in common: They’re all buying something from you. And because of that one obvious fact, they’re also telling you valuable things that can help your company grow and..
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman interviewed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on a recent episode of his excellent podcast Masters of Scale. The discussion centered on the need to launch products quickly: testing, learning and iterating,..
It’s not just the stuff of futuristic IBM or Intel TV commercials: Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are indeed driving the next wave of digital transformation in the business world. And businesses that are already moving forward with..
As I wrote in an earlier blog post, the dPrism office is essentially an entirely outsourced digital workspace. We use cloud-based apps to manage practically everything, including documents, time sheets, collaboration and projects.
The pressure for businesses to transform and sustain a culture of change has never been greater. Traditional companies are giving ground to upstarts at an increasing rate. In fact, only 64 companies have endured on the S&P 500 for the past 50..
Marketers love to tout the “premium” aspects of wares they promote. McDonald’s sells premium salads, Alamo rents premium vehicles and Hanes offers premium socks. But do all these goods really live up to our expectations of premium?
As executives, we’ve all been pummeled with advice on the importance of strategic planning, setting goals and making tough choices. (At dPrism, we’ve done our share of the pummeling). Less discussed is how to make tough choices as a group: How..
Like most of you, I try to keep up with the incredible pace of emerging technologies around the world. I am always trying to figure out how these technologies can apply to me and to my business/clients. Sometimes it takes a particularly..
Innovation, simply as a straightforward process or as a core strategic approach, has never been more imprinted in the business psyche than it is today. A key reason for this is the velocity of technology advances fueling an explosion of new..
You’ve heard it many times: Be customer-focused, understand the customer experience, and employ customer-centric design. The customer experience is one of the appropriate and needed aspects of the digital experience.
Traditionally, marketers placed great emphasis on the ratio of “working spend” versus “non-working spend” in their annual budgets. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, working spend refers to the dollars allocated to messaging placed in..
I am a longtime Netflix subscriber and one of the few people who still gets DVDs in addition to the streaming package. It is a company I admire, and one of the very few that has pulled off a successful pivot not just once, but twice.
Look at the calendar. That far along in the year already? It seems only yesterday when your organization started January with a twinkling sense of optimism and a strategic plan that laid out the next 12 months with military precision.
In case you missed it, the phrase “digital transformation” is everywhere. Google it, and you will be presented with a list of nearly nine million links. That’s not as many as “big data” (64 million references), but it is quickly rising as the..
Is your company in need of digital transformation – or digitization? There’s an important distinction. With digitization, you’re doing the same thing – albeit in a digital way – but are not producing new results. In fact, this usually just adds..
If your business is still relying on a traditional e-commerce website, remember: There’s nothing traditional about the digital economy. Geography and demographics don’t matter anymore – they’ve given way to unseen customers who should be able to..
Digital transformation is popping up in many unexpected ways today. It’s impacting even routine transactions, like buying a doughnut.
Recently I was in a trendy urban food court and was attracted to a display of sinfully rich-looking gourmet..
Recently, I finished reading the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. McKeon explains the value of doing less, but doing it better in order to make the highest contribution. He shares ideas on how to decide what to..
If you’re lucky, at least one person in your organization – probably a graphic designer or product development manager – seems to have an aversion to the word “customer,” in favor of the word “user.” They’re always talking about “user needs” and..
The need to accompany a well-articulated strategy with a clear plan to execute it has been counseled for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, summed it up as: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to..
What if you could free yourself of most of the apps on your mobile phone and still get the services and information you want, easier and faster?
And what if you could automate some of the most common support, website and e-commerce features of..
Large projects often fail. Many times, a lot of time and money is expended before that failure is recognized, simply because the projects are so large. So, while it is best to succeed, if failure is in the cards, it’s best that it happens quickly.
Here's a look back at our three most popular dBrief blog posts for 2016. We'll be back next week to start off 2017 with a new dBrief. Happy holidays to all our readers!
Product owners are often full of good ideas for improving customers’ experiences and satisfaction with their digital products or services. But there are also some common roadblocks that hinder successful execution of those ideas. Here are five..
Innovation should not be reserved for digital players and start-ups. Agility in any businesses requires the ability and creativity to adapt to changing markets and customer needs. There are plenty of established legacy businesses that are..
We’ve all been at companies that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to the importance of customer feedback and insight. At these companies, client feedback is often stuck in silos (Customer Service, Account Management, etc.) and..
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Executives of membership-based associations are painfully aware that many of the basic roles their organizations have long played can now be handled over a smartphone – without them.
Digital Prism Advisors is constantly experimenting with new platforms as well as sitting for product demos (see below for our latest update to this post).
According to Techcrunch, the 2013 breach of Target cost a whopping $162M. In a year of increasingly damaging public hacks, it’s important to reiterate the central place that cybersecurity must play in every company’s digital strategy.
When working with clients to imagine their future digital successes, we use a few different lenses to help build digital strategy. First we use the lens of customer centricity, staying close to customer needs and reimagining strategy built around..
It’s become a business cliche but it remains true: data is the ‘oil’ of the digital economy. Data enables everything in the digital marketplace, it is the means by which every company or organization can become more effective, efficient, customer..
Take a close look at the structural differences between startups—and just about everyone else. Startups, which rely upon being quicker and more innovative than legacy organizations, have flatter hierarchies, more cross-team collaboration, rely..
If you’re a forward-thinking executive for a membership-based nonprofit, chances are this summer's Pokémon Go craze has already given you one of those "a-ha" moments. That voice inside your head is correct: The same “augmented reality” technology..
At the risk of sounding redundant, I’d like to unpack the meaning of my assertion that digital is not just an update but rather a completely new beast. I’ve written about it before as it tends to be one of the hardest ideas for new clients to..
Not too long ago, professional membership associations held a near monopoly at the center of industry communities. Whether you were an architect, fireman, surgeon, auto dealer, or civil engineer an association with conventions, developmental..
About a year ago, I wrote about the paramount importance of customer-centricity and customer experience in the digital economy. I focused on the idea that there is the direct correlation between listening to customers and achieving better..
Advertising in virtual reality is so new that its most basic issues, such as effective mass-market advertising and the scale required for distribution, have yet to be addressed. The elements of that distribution scale include a large, aggregated..
What happens when you combine unprecedented access to internal and external data sources, new analytical tools, data mobility across the enterprise, and sophisticated digital marketing technologies? You have the perfect recipe for an explosive..
This week my team at Digital Prism delivered best-in-class work to our 20th client. Last month we passed the two year mark, that’s two years of helping to bring digital success to companies and organizations in all types of spaces. I want to..
Building useful digital products and meeting market needs in a legacy organization requires strong general management, not just good design. While the digital economy has changed the game, legacy companies can draw upon their strengths to develop..
Despite the impressive list of top publications that have signed onto Blendle’s “iTunes for newspapers” platform on March 23, publishers remain very nervous about micropayments for news articles. Senior news executives typically view per-article..
Big projects with big budgets and far-off goals very often fail. Like everyone, I’ve been involved with a number of slow-moving and expensive enterprise projects that consumed thousands of hours and tens of millions of dollars while adding very..
Your customers are complaining that their email inboxes are overflowing with your organization’s repetitive or irrelevant messages. Managers of several departments feel free to publish to your website at will, resulting in a muddled user..
I recently spent 30 minutes trying to solve a problem in the customer service section of a service provider's website. Frustrated I picked up the phone and called them. The representative answered and somehow already knew my exact problem, and..
Virtual Reality (VR) continues to generate considerable buzz in the consumer space. January’s Consumer Electronics Show where Facebook’s Oculus announced pre-orders for the Rift gave the press plenty to write about. The $81B gaming industry will..
Digital Prism Managing Director Jason Bacon has led digital proposition development and digital transformation initiatives in Finance, Travel, Sports, Media, and Business Services. Here, he helps us to understand the careful balance between the..
Over the past few months, the dprism team has grown quite a lot. We’ve added four new managing directors and one new consultant. These five new people bring with them a truly titanic amount of experience, insight, and instinct into digital..
What will define this year in digital business? 2016, I believe, will be a year where the digital trends and advances from the previous few years come to a head. From virtual reality to the internet of things to smarter, data-driven marketing..
After reading Pro Publica’s latest takedown of the American Red Cross, it seems clear that CEO and former AT&T executive Gail McGovern has been using the tattered playbook of the old Ma Bell telephone monopoly to run the venerable charity aground.
There is a lot of talk around virtual reality due to the upcoming releases of the Oculus Rift and HTC Hive headsets. Adding to that, The New York Times recently launched immersive VR stories, delivering 1.2 million Google Cardboard VR headsets..
Adapting to a digital economy seems so easy, but it’s not. For years, the same errors have been made and traps fallen into. Perhaps it’s not surprising given the ever-shifting landscape, but here is my list of the top 5 digital pitfalls and how..
When most people think of email marketing metrics, they think of open and click-through rates. But my tastes are a little more exotic – one of my favorite email marketing metrics is Revenue per Email (RPE).
The rise of the digital economy has made fast and continuous innovation a requirement of successful business. One truly innovative idea can bring down industry giants or disrupt an entire sector in only a few years, therefore all businesses must..
Without a disability or handicap, it’s easy to use your computer, tablet, or smartphone without ever noticing your device's accessibility features. Without a disability, it's also doubtful that you’ve purchased an assistive app or been frustrated..
Most companies say they are customer-focused or customer-centric, it’s a buzzword that is pretty easy to throw into marketing copy. A truly customer-centric company understands the direct correlation between listening to their customers and..
In the not so distant future, my average workday will be different.
If you’re just now developing your mCommerce strategy congratulations but you need to move quickly. Mobile traffic overtook desktop computer traffic as the dominant way in which people shop online back in August 2014 and the mCommerce market is..
Agile methodology has become the go-to method of software development. Formally born in 2001, Agile is a management framework designed to accommodate the unpredictable and empirical world of software development with adaptive planning,..
I have a confession to make. I never spend more than $5 for a game on my smartphone, but I have spent many times that amount on “free” games. I’ve bought faster cars, more powerful guns, and ‘clues’ in trivia games without giving it much thought...
Cyber Security is one of the pillars of Digital Transformation and it is no longer just an IT issue, it’s a business issue. As business models and assets move deeper into the digital sphere (the cloud, etc), they become more susceptible to..
Indulge me in an enlightening thought experiment, I’d like to go back-in-time twenty years and describe 2015 to my younger self. Tell ‘95-Len about the internet’s huge role in 2015 life, so ubiquitous it has become nearly invisible. Show my..
We have witnessed a major shift over recent decades towards a digital services based economy. Exponential growth in the power of information technology enhanced by Internet driven network effects mean that even the most mundane manufactured..
Digital transformation is the realignment of business models, processes, and technology to engage digital customers. For many, transformation has become an absolute business imperative as the information age permanently alters consumer behavior...
What is digital transformation and how can your business benefit? I’m very excited to start answering that question for our clients as a Managing Director of Digital Prism Advisors. Here, I will be helping my mentor and former boss Adriaan Bouten..
It happens often and always catches my attention that someone well-placed or high up in their company conflates digital strategy and technology strategy, or worse yet reverses the terms flat out. It’s a misnomer worth correcting because, with a..
The rise of the Chief Digital Officer is here. By 2016, around half of Fortune 500 companies will have CDOs navigating the waves of digital innovation and disruption in their businesses. It’s a progressive position, taking pressure off both..
2014 has been a major year for digital transformation, we’ve seen a slew of investment into digital and some innovative digital business models hit the market. So, what lessons has this year taught us? What did we learn from digital..
Even the stodgiest of old-school companies are facing the fact that a digital presence is now a vital part of any successful commercial strategy. Digital transformation is not about putting an online wrapper around the existing product suite;..