While Digital is Mobile, Mobile is Not Digital: Reflecting on The 2015 Gartner Symposium

Many individuals within the tech industry converged last week in Orlando for the annual Gartner Symposium and ITXpo.  Over 13,000 people attended the conference, and you won’t be surprised to hear that CSC was there along with them.  I had the opportunity to connect with old friends and also to speak with a number of people who stopped by our booth to talk about mobility and the main topic of the event.

This year’s conference theme was Digital Transformation.  This in and of itself is not at all surprising, given how hot this topic has become over the last 12 months.  What was surprising however, (at least to me) was how the terms “Digital Transformation” and “mobility” were so often being used interchangeably.

I think we must be cautious about doing so.

Now don’t get me wrong, as a Mobility Evangelist, it’s always great to have conversations about mobility, but I do however think that people need to remember one very simple thing:

While Digital is Mobile, Mobile is Not Digital.

What I mean by this is that they are not synonymous. To be clear, I firmly believe that mobile is at the very core of what it means for an organization to go digital (even without my bias).  However, “just” going mobile does not necessarily mean that your organization has embarked upon its digital transformation.

A true digital transformation is at its core about how an organization is reimagining its business processes – and by extension its business opportunities.  This could be about improving an existing process to optimize efficiencies, it could be about hedging in a stagnant or waning market or it could even be (most excitingly) about redefining a market or entering a new market.  But let’s remember that at its core, a digital transformation is about a business that gets its augmented insights from Big Data & Analytics, living in a Cloud, delivered to a Mobile end point, all in a highly Secure fashion.

Remember when Apple was running its ads for the iTunes AppStore that focused on “There’s an app for that”? That’s not a Digital Transformation.  That’s just adding mobile to the equation. A Digital Transformation is all about rewriting the equation with the new language that is DevOps.

Mobility is by no means an easy thing to handle within the workplace.  There are so many nuances and moving parts that have to be orchestrated together to achieve meaningful success.  However, I’ll argue that a Digital Transformation is even more challenging as it goes well beyond technology decisions and gets to the core of the business itself. There’s no magic bullet to creating a meaningful Digital Transformation, but just remember that Mobile is only one part of that highly complex equation.

This post is written by Philippe Winthrop

Headshot---MediumPhilippe Winthrop is CSC’s Global Mobility Evangelist. In that capacity, Philippe speaks to clients and industry influencers on industry best practices and CSC’s mobility services and vision.
Philippe is recognized as one of the first true enterprise mobility thought leaders. He has spent the past 9 years working with the some of the largest companies in the world to formulate and execute mobile strategies that have transformed the way people work when they are in and out of the office. He has helped vendors generate millions of dollars in incremental revenue through successful B2B and B2C mobile platforms and has saved end-users millions of dollars by streamlining how untethered workers interact with corporate data.   He is a frequent speaker at industry events and quoted in numerous publications on enterprise mobility.
Philippe received his BA in Economics and Romance Languages from Boston College and his MA in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University.

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