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Swapping Innovation for Transformation: The What, How, and Why of a New Agenda for Business

Dec 04, 2013

Digital transformation has become a competitive necessity for every global enterprise. And we at Apigee are continually privileged and humbled to be asked by business and technical leaders for our point of view, benchmark data, and insights in order to help them lead their companies through digital transformation.

We take this with the utmost seriousness because of the threat posed by digital natives with laser-like focus on exploiting changes in technology and consumer expectations in order to disrupt traditional industries. Amazon and Apple are disruptors to be sure, with newer entrants such as Uber, AirBnB and Square doing their best to follow in their footsteps.

But we also approach this with profound enthusiasm for the opportunities the rise of mobile computing, the advent of the app economy, and the emergence of the Internet of Things present to companies in every sector. What Nike has done with Nike+, what Phillips has created with Hue, and how McCormick is innovating with FlavorPrint are examples of the huge potential for digital transformation at companies whose history predates the digital era by decades and showcase how it can be both great for business and improve our lives in new ways.

To this end, we’ve invested in research to uncover patterns for successful digital transformation at large companies.  In previous Apigee Institute reports we’ve shared some key “what’s” associated with greater confidence, faster trajectory, and stronger results:

We know, however, from our interactions with customers—re-affirmed by some of the great questions at the I Love APIs conference—that insight into the “why” and the “how” of making these patterns a reality are just as critical:

  • Why some companies appear to be able to adapt much more quickly than others to changing market conditions?
  • How can managers scale good ideas from pilots to enterprise-wide impact?
  •  How do successful leaders balance running the business as it is today in a disciplined way with discovering new opportunities?

In order to take a systematic approach to answering questions like these, we partnered with author and researcher Haydn Shaughnessy.  Haydn’s work on how companies build the ability to successfully penetrate new markets outside their core competency—what he calls “radical adjacency”—struck a chord with us.  So did his strong commitment to continuously testing theory against the experience of senior decision makers through one-on-one in-depth interviews. 

Swapping Innovation For Transformation, Core Competency For Fluid Core. A New Agenda For Business—Hayden's whitepaper developed in cooperation with the Apigee Institute explores these issues through 25 new interviews digital transformation leaders in global enterprises.

We hope this provides some rich qualitative insight into the “why” and “how” of digital transformation.  We look forward to continuing to learn from the experience of practitioners and sharing that with the broader community


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