Digital Transformation

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is reimagining an organization’s systems and practices to align with modern customer expectations and an evolving business landscape. Digital transformation integrates digital technology at every level of the organization, often fundamentally changing how it operates. For this to succeed, an organization must adopt an agile, change-focused mindset, one defined by principles such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), customer enablement, distributed work, and cyber resilience.

Digital transformation is neither reactive nor focused on the short term. It is not a solution to an individual business challenge but a means of evolution. Moreover, digital transformation is not one-size-fits-all—it is defined by an organization’s people, processes, and technology.

Objectives of Digital Transformation

An organization might pursue digital transformation for a variety of different reasons, including:

  • Reducing overhead
  • Adapting to a market shift
  • Responding to external pressure from business partners and customers
  • Providing a better customer experience
  • Future-proofing business processes and technology
  • Increasing revenue
  • Eliminating internal data and communication silos
  • Securing business assets and the digital supply chain
  • Improving compliance, governance, and data hygiene
  • Gaining a competitive advantage
  • Enhancing employee productivity and performance

Why Is Digital Transformation Important?

Between distributed work, unstable supply chains, changing customer expectations and sophisticated threat actors, organizations that still rely on legacy technology are increasingly vulnerable to disruption. With digital transformation, they can effectively respond to market shifts and defend against cyberattacks. They can also catch up with savvier competitors that both operate more efficiently and offer a better customer experience.

Benefits of Digital Transformation

The benefits of digital transformation are far-reaching and may include the following.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Modern businesses generate an immense volume of data on everything from customer behavior to internal network activity. Digital transformation allows a business to implement the necessary systems to orchestrate and analyze that data, driving better decisions around cybersecurity, customer satisfaction, and more.

Reduced Sprawl

Legacy software and technology stacks are frequently complex and cumbersome patchworks buckling under their weight. Digital transformation allows businesses to retire those tools, reducing sprawl by consolidating them onto modern, feature-rich platforms.

Increased Revenue

By simplifying business processes, automating manual tasks, and empowering employees, businesses can deliver better customer experiences at a lower cost, resulting in significantly better margins.

Employee Engagement

A digital-first company offers a better customer experience and employee experience, increasing job satisfaction, retention, and productivity.

New Business Opportunities

Digital transformation can open new revenue streams and unlock new lines of business by expanding the scope and focus of an organization’s products and services.

Improved Business Agility

A business that successfully undergoes digital transformation is no longer weighed down by outdated tools and processes, enabling it to make decisions and execute new initiatives more efficiently.

Better Security Posture

By incorporating technologies such as Extended Detection and Response (XDR)Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP), and Identity and Access Management (IAM) into its digital transformation initiatives, an organization can protect itself from threat actors far more effectively.


A digitally transformed business is forward-facing and future-focused. This means that it not only becomes better at predicting and proactively addressing emerging market trends but also can explore innovative new strategies.

Main Components of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation encompasses the entirety of an organization, including:

  • Customers
  • Partnerships
  • Vendors and suppliers
  • Business model
  • Product niche/domain
  • Organizational culture
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Processes
  • Data

What’s the Difference between Digital Transformation, Digitalization, and Digitization?

Digital transformation typically involves both digitalization and digitization. The three concepts are not interchangeable. As such, it’s important to understand the difference between them.

Digitization retires analog systems and processes in favor of digital alternative, e.g., shifting from physical records to a cloud database.   

Digitalization leverages digital data to optimize various aspects of a business, particularly workflows.

Digital transformation embodies both digitization and digitalization, leveraging new and emerging technologies to change how a business operates.

How to Successfully Pursue Digital Transformation

Determine Digital Maturity

An organization’s digital transformation strategy and roadmap largely depends upon its level of preparedness, which typically includes:  

  • In-house knowledge and skills
  • Digital technologies the organization has already adopted
  • The organization’s culture and mindset
  • How many organizations have already undergone digital transformation within its industry
  • The digital maturity level of business partners, vendors, and suppliers
  • Stakeholder and leadership engagement

Understand Customer Needs

Because digital transformation is ultimately customer-driven, it’s imperative that an organization develop and maintain a comprehensive understanding of its core audience. This includes their pain points, wants, and needs. If digital transformation will not allow the business to provide better service to its customers, it may be better to hold off for the moment.  

Define Objectives and Requirements

Once an organization has identified its level of digital maturity, the next step is to determine why it’s pursuing digital transformation and what it needs in order to do so. What is the organization trying to achieve, and what technologies are necessary to achieve this? How must the organization change in order to support these new tools?

This is also the stage where an organization must identify any potential challenges or roadblocks, such as governance and compliance.

Assess Impact

How will each department and line of business benefit from digital transformation? What must the organization do in order to minimize disruption when incorporating digital technologies and strategies? Are there any specific tools or technologies employees want to see implemented?

Define Goals, Milestones, and KPIs

Digital adoption must be deliberate and strategic. A realistic roadmap is a must, with clear milestones and metrics to track adoption progress.

Choose Technology

Next, the organization must identify tools that will allow it to fulfill its digital transformation objectives, creating a shortlist of potential vendors and performing full due diligence for each one.  

Develop a Strategy

With the above elements defined, one question remains: How will the organization execute this initiative? The answer to that question forms the crux of its digital transformation strategy, which will differ based on challenges, objectives, and requirements. It may be worthwhile to refer to a digital transformation framework for guidance at this stage.

Most critically, this strategy should define how the organization will restructure itself and adapt its culture and mindset in support of its objectives.

Best Practices for Digital Transformation

Execute Iteratively

Digital transformation does not happen overnight. An organization should take as much time as necessary to implement each new process, tool, and technology without compromising security or usability

Involve the Entire Organization

In a modern business, everyone relies on IT, just as everyone has a stake in security. Every department should therefore have a voice in defining an organization’s digital transformation strategy and objectives. Employee engagement and education are both critical.  

Break Down Silos

Information and communication silos are ultimately detrimental not just to digital transformation initiatives, but to the organization as a whole. Organizations should take every measure necessary to break these down and encourage collaboration between departments.

Don’t Sacrifice Cybersecurity

Digital transformation increases an organization’s attack surface. This is unavoidable. As a result, security must always be front of mind when incorporating new technology.

Focus on Cultural Change

An organization with a culture focused on innovation and learning is far better suited to digital transformation, and far likelier to see such initiatives succeed.

Cylance® Endpoint Security powered by Cylance AI defends against cyberattacks—enabling organizations to modernize safely and without interruption.