Digital-Transformation and sustainability: a natural tag team.

It all started with Digitization: when the first Electronic Mail was sent nearly 60 years ago at MIT, a silent revolution enfolded: Digitization meant the transition from analog data (often represented in wave-based technology) to a very simple concept: on or off, zero or one, abstracted in a binary layer.
But Digitization was just about the data. With Digitalization it was about the processes, so how the data is flowing through organizations.
Now Digital Transformation is about the purpose of the organization itself. It‘s about people, customers, employees, added value – and their interactions. It’s strategy first, technology second.

Fig. 1: from Digitization to Digital Transformation

As a MIT Research study shows, digital transformed companies are about 26% more profitable then the norm. A PWC research says, that 80% of CEOs think, that „the production technology their companies use, will change in the next five years“. That’s why its common sense nowadays, that digital transformation is at the heart of every organization that wants to succeed in the future.

The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.

Oren Harari

When an IT powered Digitalization is at the very heart of an organization, a Sustainable Transformation Strategy also has to be driven by IT, has to understand Digital Transformation. This means, not only IT itself has to sustainable (often labelled GreenIT), but sustainability has to be driven by digital technologies.

Fig 2: Sustainability of and by IT

As in the process of Digital Transformation, most organizations are still on the first steps of the road to a Sustainable Transformation Strategy. GRI powered reports are mostly a mere greenwashing PR tool than a real change strategy. IT is being used to fuel these reports – but its transformational power has not been unleashed yet. When it comes to implementation of sustainability strategies into organizations, Digital-Transformation and Sustainability are natural allies, which can enfold superpowers.

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