Changes in work, life, business brought about by the pandemic are great triggers for transformation but will not lead to transformation by default
There is no single definition on the difference between change and transformation. But we all can describe the difference. We change our clothes, but our soul goes through a transformation. A bear changes its fur in winter, but a caterpillar transforms itself to a butterfly. We change our objects, but we transform ourselves.
So, attempting a definition, there are two significant—and not mutually exclusive—conditions for a change to be called transformation. One, that the subject itself must change. And two, that change should be significant.
To that extent, notwithstanding the way the phrase has been abused, the usage of the word ‘transformation’ in digital transformation is appropriate. The objective is to make the organization or business something completely new. Of course, the usage of digital does not require a debate.
Based on the discourses so far, here are a few definitions of transformation:
- Transformation changes the subject of change completely, not just some attributes.
- While change can be induced by any force—internal or external, transformation must be internal, maybe in addition to external.
- Change can be reversed; transformation cannot be reversed, by undoing the change.
- Change can be initiated with the immediate objective in mind, a transformation, on the other hand, is a change towards a goal.
Let’s come to the most important change that we are witnessing today—the changes in work, life, business brought about by the pandemic. There is no debate about if these changes are real and significant. But whether they will result in transformation is open to debate. These changes are great triggers for transformation but will not lead to transformation by default.
Can these changes make the organizations decide their new goal and chart their journey accordingly?
That could lead to real transformation!
The CIO&Leader January 2021 Cover Story is about changes in enterprise IT, that is seen across the industries. Since the transformation path is different for each organization, we do not claim that these are those ‘alterations’ needed. But they can be the trigger for specific alternations, once organizations decide their goals.
From January 2021, we relaunched our news section, Around the Tech, based on the feedback from readers. One major change is to pack more information in a ‘newsy’ format. Many use our website to go through news based on research reports that we publish. One CIO told me he does it once in 15 days. We are just making that job easier by carrying a summary of those reports. We also introduce news from two areas that are closely related: startups and governments.
Let’s hope, in 2021, we will see far more positives than the pre-pandemic period.