Skip to Content

Digital transformation is not primarily about technology

Jean-Claude Viollier

Digital transformation is everywhere. Every company is doing it.

But it is not just a technology project. Digital transformation plans need to be bigger. It is about doing business differently as markets and consumers change. Technology will underpin the transition, but the bigger initiative is actually around change management.

Most companies undergo the digital-transformation process for business reasons. Market disruptions mean they need to move more quickly, make data-driven decisions, and be more agile – and technology will help them achieve it. New business models will create new areas of growth and new opportunities.

But digital transformation has two key audiences: employees and customers. The human aspect of transformation is huge, so the investment needs to be in experience as much as technology. At the end of your digital transformation, everyone involved should have an amazing experience. The technology helps make the process work, but what everyone remembers is a great experience.

Tesla is a great example of completely changing the car-buying process. Going to a car dealership usually involves an investment of time and energy, especially if you are considering multiple brands, but visiting a Tesla car center is remarkably simple.

When you walk in, you are greeted by a large screen so you can create an account and decide what options you want, such as capacity, color, and battery. It is an easy process that takes about 10 minutes. Tesla requires a $2,000 deposit and then you can change your options via a smartphone app for up to eight days after the initial purchase.

Two weeks later, your car is ready. The final contract is one page and one signature. Buyers are not faced with the typical two-hour dealership ordeal with multiple forms. Tesla provides a 30-minute training session and then a personal assistant walks you to your new car. And the superior experience continues after you drive away. I had a flat tire and notified Tesla via the app, and within 10 minutes there was someone to help. It is another world of customer experience and it breeds a very loyal customer base.

This is what digital transformation should be. It is about changing the whole buying experience, so it is better for employees and customers. Digital transformation needs to deliver agility and new areas of growth, but it is also about creating new experiences that no one has had before. If you approach this primarily as using new technologies, you will not realize the real potential of the opportunity.

Jean-Claude Viollier is the Executive Vice President, North American High Tech Unit Lead, at Capgemini. He excels at helping clients think differently and take a more humanistic view of technology.
He can be reached at