Choose Your Digital Transformation Starting Point

Choose from these 4 starting points to turn your organization into a digital business.

Did you know that your chances of surviving a heart attack are higher in Copenhagen, Denmark? That’s because emergency dispatchers in Copenhagen now use a virtual agent to them help identify cardiac arrests. Although human dispatchers alone recognize cardiac arrests 73% of the time, initial data shows that the virtual agent plus a human dispatcher recognizes cardiac arrests 95% of the time. This is an example of how artificial intelligence (AI) can be a starting point for digital transformation that enables machines to deliver value for an organization.

“Stories like this can help a CIO change what people think business will look like in the future,” explains Kristin Moyer, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Our research shows that 66% of leaders want to transform, but only 11% are actually delivering digital business. To determine if your organization is already transformed, ask questions such as ‘Did we change the way we make money?’ or ‘Have we changed the way we deliver value? If the answer is ‘No,’ there’s still work to do.”

But many organizations are stuck on where to start their transformation efforts. According to Gartner research, about 57% of organizations have not yet found a starting point for digital business transformation. CIOs can work with business leaders to choose the best of four possible points to begin and expand the journey of digital transformation.

No. 1: Connected

Connected often is not a transformation, but an optimization initiative. Organizations seek to reduce delivery times, improve device utilization or increase productivity by implementing technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) or dedicated digital platforms. The transformation begins when the organization leverages the connected aspect to earn money in new ways, for example, when companies use generated data to create new revenue-generating services or make data more available and transparent across their entire value chains.

Gartner Top Strategic Technology Trends 2021

Technology trends IT can’t afford to ignore

Download eBook

No. 2: Autonomous

With autonomous technology, machines can make humans better, and humans can make machines better. “The virtual agent used in Copenhagen to identify cardiac arrests is a perfect example for the autonomous approach. It’s based on AI and uses real-time speech analysis and advanced machine learning to identify the context clues of emergency dispatch calls. To create a new business model, the technology provider could sell the anonymous patient data to emergency responders to help them allocate resources more effectively in the future,” Moyer says.

No. 3: Empowered

The empowered method lets customers and business ecosystem partners create value for themselves and the organization at the same time. This can multiply the potential for value creation. Examples are IoT devices in the medical sector that let people perform basic self-examinations at home without a physician present.

“With an examination kit, the organization has created a new source of revenue while empowering both partners and customers,” Moyer explains. “Healthcare payers don’t have to compensate physicians for basic exams, and patients don’t have to commute to a medical facility and spend time in the waiting area.”

No. 4: Programmable

A programmable starting point is focused on both business model change and operating model change. The aim is to let other parties create and deliver value for your organization. This can be achieved via application programming interfaces (APIs), open source technologies or blockchain.

“In the banking sector, for example, some banks have made their services consumable for everyone through APIs. This could allow for new revenue streams by charging for API calls and selling new products, such as digital identity,” says Moyer.

Gartner clients can read more about the first steps toward digital transformation in: “4 Starting Points for Digital Business Transformation” by Kristin Moyer et al. This research is part of the Gartner Trend Insight Report The Future of Your Business Ecosystem in the Age of Digital Business.” This special report explains why organizations must design creative business models, and create the underpinning operating model to succeed.

Get Smarter

Follow #Gartner

Attend a Gartner event

Explore Gartner Conferences

Gartner IT Roadmap for Cybersecurity: A Resilient Strategy

Gartner IT roadmap for cybersecurity based on unbiased research and...

Learn More


Get actionable advice in 60 minutes from the world's most respected experts. Keep pace with the latest issues that impact business.

Start Watching