Some Notes On Digital Transformation

Some Notes On Digital Transformation

Application modernization, cloud migration, digital transformation. Going from where you are to where you “ought to be” is a journey down a non-linear path you can’t predict; and, until you need them, you won’t even know all the tools and skills you’ll need to make it.

From a holistic business perspective, digital transformation (or whatever you want to call it), isn’t about digital and it isn’t even about transformation. But it is very easy for technology, for digital, to dominate the discussion. Similarly, the idea of making a transformation happen through a set of predefined steps, or at least by repeatedly applying a technological approach or practice, is very attractive. Ultimately, these tendencies make the inevitable non-linear path arrive as a surprise and become a source of frustration.

These “anti-patterns” of adapting a 20th Century business to the 21st Century market economy are so common and pervasive because they each carry kernels of truth. Yes, new digital tech is key to 21st Century business success, and is an essential investment for 21st Century companies. Yes, 20th Century orgs need to change how they organize and operate, and, if they take time to articulate what they want to become, they can imagine a roadmap to go from here to there. Yes too, an iterative approach is needed, it just needs to be expanded beyond the realm of technology to the whole “sociotechnical” system.

The Learning Engine: an iterative model that applies to both transforming and operating organizations (more)

Ultimately, what drives The Learning Engine and makes it work for both organizational change and ongoing operation, is that it makes customers the center of gravity for the company. Underlying it are two principles that everyone from leaders, to frontline employees, need to live in everything they do:

  1. That it is the customer who determines what a business is (based on the value they place on its products and services).
  2. That the customer’s experience of value, and judgment of value, is subjective and ever-changing (and so is a critical resource for understanding present success and figuring out future success).

These views mean that not every prospective customer is a fit for Simbiotrek (sim-bē-‘ä-‘trek). It also means that the clients we do work with embrace us as a “symbiotic catalyst” and are ready to “trek” with us on the non-linear path to…

Becoming the organization that senses the experiences of value of our customers today, and adapts quickly and efficiently to deliver even more value to our customers tomorrow.

Sean Kennedy (me)

If these values resonate with you, I’d love to get to know you (LinkedIn) and you might enjoy the Whatever The Heck That Means YouTube channel too (get there easily through If you are looking for a partner to build the beautiful business you’ve always imagined, I’d also love to talk to you about that (message me through!

Sean Kennedy

The creator of "Whatever The Heck That Means" can usually be found with his wife and younger son in their adopted home of North Carolina. (His older son is now an adult and away studying mechanical engineering.) From there he is the Founder and President of Simbiotrek (sim-bē-'ä-'trek -, and makes occasional digital imprints on LinkedIn ( and Twitter (, as well as on the Be Action YouTube channel (


Kate Kasik Posted on1:35 am - October 25, 2022

This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

Putting Out Into the Deep – Whatever The Heck That Means Posted on2:59 pm - September 28, 2022

[…] The 3rd Level of Entrepreneurial Action: Putting Out Into the Deep. We frame this cycle of learning, or Learning Engine, with three attributes: launching, learning, and listening. […]

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.