Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

CustomerGauge: NPS and the Digital Transformation of CX

by Sarah Frazier, CustomerGauge (Excerpt)

Has anyone else ever heard the term “digital transformation” and let loose one of the longest eye rolls of their life? Don’t worry, I was in your shoes once.

Before I worked in marketing, I was a development editor at a technical publication for software books (I know, I know, I’ve gone to the dark side; God save my soul). Around the editorial pool, there were a few marketing buzzwords we loved to hate. One shining example was “digital transformation”.

So, what was our beef?

When it came to digital transformation it was the almost purposeful vagueness that the word implied that drove us bananas. I mean, isn’t everybody working in the digital world?

For a long time, this was my mind set, until recently. For me the real revelation behind the digital transformation is not this all-encompassing term, but rather how the digital transformation has created a shift in the approach to customer experience with tools like the Net Promoter System®.

What is Digital Transformation and Who Owns It?

If we’re going really broad, digital transformation is the change associated with incorporating digital technologies into society. Narrowing this down to a business perspective, digital transformation is

“the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies…”
– (

This is where skeptics begin scratching their head. I mean, doesn’t that encompass just aScreen Shot 2016-12-06 at 10.02.44 AMbout everything, everyone is doing already? Yes and no. The value of digital transformation is all in how you apply it, combined with strong leadership.

My hardline view about the digital transformation was changed when I came across a Forbes article written by Brian Solis called “Who Owns Digital Transformation? According To A New Survey, It’s Not The CIO”. In the article, he mentions the very same skepticism I had, but with an important distinction:

“The reality is though that pretty much every company is investing in digital transformation. The difference between them and companies paving the way forward comes down to whether or not change progresses holistically in a unified manner or through individual groups without the benefit of common vision.”

In “The 2016 State of Digital Transformation” report from Altimeter, Brian Solis identified that this disparity was a direct result of the answer they received to the question: “who owns digital transformation?” While most people would guess the CIO to be the owner of such a movement, the research found it was in fact CMOs who were leading the way with digital transformation through, you guessed it, customer experience (CX) initiatives. […]

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