If you think “digital transformation” as a theme was at its peak in 2015, you could be wrong. The transformation curiosity will keep leaders awake at night during 2016 as well. I just searched for the term digital transformation through Google Trends with the hope of seeing a decline in interest around digital. To my surprise, I noticed a dramatic but significant spike in interest in queries on digital transformation over the last two months globally, and now it is at its all-time high (chart below). What’s more, people in India and Australia are searching digital transformation more than anywhere else. Is the ‘pendulum of hype’ shifting from the West to the East now?
Under “related searches,” some of the most frequent queries are on digital transformation definition, consulting, and strategy. The related queries list is not exhaustive but is indicative of possible interest areas from people globally. I believe leaders are already overwhelmed and probably confused by the hype surrounding digital. They are still trying to separate the signal from the noise. If you were to ask 20 executives, “What is digital?” you would receive 20 different responses based on each individual’s understanding of the structure of digital organizations, their vision, and culture. As leaders are under tremendous pressure to move beyond “doing digital” to “being digital”, they need concrete details on definition, setting up a digital office, the ideal transformation budget, case studies, strategy, best practices, culture, change management, etc.
One area in which many leaders remain ignorant is the widening issue of data privacy and security. The Internet and digital technologies are transforming the lives we lead, but the scale and speed of these changes present a challenge. Every company is counting on data to re-write their customer engagement strategy; 30% of businesses will monetize their data and information assets by the end of 2016. Consumers are becoming anxious about how their data is being collected online and how companies are going to target them for insurance, measure their steps, make sure their refrigerator is working, and their heart rate is right. There is a thin line between providing a personalized service and being creepy, and companies are increasingly struggling to draw that line. It’s not about privacy or security, but rather “Trust”, which is increasing in importance in the minds of consumers. Trust is a brand which is difficult to build and easy to lose. My upcoming whitepaper “The Value of Trust” will uncover the nature of trust between consumers and a variety of companies across industries and will explain the factors that influence this trust and the economic value associated with it.
Maybe when I revisit Google Trends in a couple of months I will see security/ privacy/ trust as one of the top searches. Will the hype around digital transformation accelerate further in 2016?
What are you searching for on digital?