Differences Between IT Transformation and Digital Transformation

IT Transformation and Digital Transformation

Imagine a world where your fridge orders milk because it noticed you’re almost out, and your car books its own service appointments. Surprised? Welcome to the incredible world of Digital and IT Transformation. With these types of creative and useful innovations, the line between science fiction and reality blurs quickly every day.

The world has gone digital. IT, or Information Technology, is the backbone of this digital world. Information Technology involves designing, building, and maintaining the systems that power our devices, keep our data secure, and connect us to the online world.

Two buzzwords that are often used in today’s business world are “IT Transformation” and “Digital Transformation.” Many believe them to mean the same however they are very different from each other in terms of usage and approach.

Understanding the difference is vital for businesses to properly use them in appropriate scenarios. Let’s check out how IT and digital transformations differ.

What is IT transformation?

IT transformation deals with modifying a business’ IT infrastructure. It is done by upgrading hardware, software, and internal IT processes. It’s all about revamping the existing infrastructure to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and make your systems more secure. This could involve:

  • Moving to cloud computing for the ease of access
  • Updating hardware to make them faster and more reliable
  • Using automation to cut down on manual tasks, among others

It helps you check if your technology foundation is strong, flexible, and adaptable for current and future needs.

What is Digital Transformation?

The concept of digital transformation goes further by utilizing digital technologies for all business processes. It significantly changes the way your business operates and delivers value to customers. However, digital transformation does not only mean upgrading your tech; it also involves revolutionizing your business culture to promote innovation and technology usage among teams.

Digital transformation is about using technology to unlock new opportunities. It is about leveraging technology to bring growth and innovation to a business. It may involve:

  • Using data analytics to better understand customer behavior
  • Adopting e-commerce to expand your market reach
  • Using social media for brand engagement

Codewave specializes in guiding businesses through their digital transformation, ensuring technology not only improves operations but also cultivates a culture of innovation across teams.

Relationship and Distinctions

IT transformation lays the groundwork for digital transformation. If you have a solid, effective IT infrastructure, only then you can create a strong platform to build and implement digital strategies. Think of this as building a powerful engine before you design a high-performance car.

IT transformation focuses on improving the internal systems that keep the business running smoothly. Digital transformation, on the other hand, is about using technology to transform your entire business model and offer better value to customers.

Let’s dissect how these two transformations differ and yet ironically complement each other.

Mapping the Horizon: Objectives and Boundaries

The key difference between IT and digital transformation is their overall objectives. On one hand, IT transformation focuses on the core systems and processes, whereas digital transformation is about user interaction, features you offer, and the overall journey.

Objectives of IT Transformation

The main aim here is to improve the efficiency, reliability, and scalability of the company’s IT infrastructure. Here are some areas it focuses on:

Infrastructure: This includes upgrading servers, cloud computing, networks, and data centers to ensure they’re not just keeping up but leading the charge in tech efficiency.

Operations: Streamlining IT operations involves automating routine tasks, adopting agile methodologies, and ensuring your IT team can pivot and adapt at the speed of light.

Service Delivery: It is about making sure the backend infrastructure works as expected to provide users with optimum service experience. This ensures reliability, user-friendliness, and satisfaction.

Objectives of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation includes how we can reshape how businesses operate, engage with users, and innovate their services. Here’s a glimpse into its scope:

Business Models: Digital Transformation can help us create new and improved business models that were previously unimaginable. It includes using technologies to enhance digital products and services or provide physical products with digital features.

Culture:  It’s about building a digital-first mindset in a company. Continuous learning, innovation, and a willingness to take calculated risks are highly appreciated factors. It encourages teams to use their digital skills to solve problems.

Customer Experiences: At its core, a business is about offering unique experiences. This can be done using data analytics, AI, and other digital tools that help us understand and predict user needs.

Building Blocks of Change: Exploring the Pillars and Elements of Transformation

Both IT and digital transformation involve making significant changes to how your company operates. But they target different areas with different goals.

Pillars of IT Transformation

Modern Infrastructure: This involves upgrading your tech stack – hardware, software, and networks – to ensure it’s reliable, secure, and scalable. It is similar to building a strong foundation for a rigid building.

Consistent Operations: It is useful to simplify your IT processes and procedures so that everyone involved is on the same page. This means automating tasks and using clear workflows.

Service Delivery: Your company must modify how it delivers IT services to the rest of the teams. It involves making IT more user-friendly, responsive, and proactive in meeting the needs of your teams.

Pillars of Digital Transformation

Customer Experience: Putting your customers at the center of everything you do. This means using technology to create seamless, personalized interactions across all interfaces.

Operational Agility: Becoming more adaptable and responsive to change is helpful. This involves using digital tools to automate tasks, improve data analysis, and make faster decisions.

Culture and Leadership: Building a culture that welcomes innovation and digital thinking. Leaders need to empower change and motivate teams to experiment and learn. It will help create a vibrant, forward-thinking work environment.

Workforce Enablement: Equipping your employees with the skills and tools they need to succeed in a digital world. This can involve training programs, providing access to new technologies, and encouraging collaboration.

Digital Technology Integration: Merge digital tools and platforms with the core of your business. Tools and platforms could include cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and more.

Strategic Benefits and Business Impact of Innovation

Both IT and digital transformation hold their own benefits in how they impact innovation in different ways.

Strategic Benefits of IT Transformation

Productivity: Teams will get more work done in less time and remove the clunky processes using simple-to-understand IT systems. For example, marketing guys can create targeted campaigns without having to deal with outdated data or slow software.

Efficiency: It can eliminate inefficiencies that suck up valuable resources. Automation can handle manual tasks to free up productive time. Moreover, employees won’t need to worry about glitches with efficient software.

Agility: A modern IT infrastructure gives your company the flexibility to adapt and respond quickly to changing market demands. Need to launch a new product line quickly? With an agile IT setup, you’ll be ready to roll.

Strategic Benefits of Digital Transformation

Business Competitiveness: Digital transformation helps you stay ahead of the curve. By embracing new technologies like AI and cloud computing, you can create innovative products and services that keep your customers engaged and coming back for more.

Innovation: Digital transformation builds a culture of experimentation and creativity. It encourages your team to explore new ways of doing tasks which may lead to innovative ideas and solutions.

Relevance: In this fast-paced world, businesses need to constantly evolve to stay relevant. Digital transformation uses technology to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers and the market.

Challenges and Critical Success Factors

Both IT and digital transformation come with their own set of challenges and success factors that set them apart. Let’s take a look at some:

Factors for IT Transformation

Legacy Systems: The clunky old computer systems can be tough to manage and operate. Upgrading or replacing them can be a complex and expensive venture.

Cloud Readiness: Migrating to the cloud offers flexibility and scalability. Be sure to ensure your infrastructure is ready for the switch.

Operational Models: Transforming your IT infrastructure often requires rethinking how the teams should work in the new environment. This can involve new processes, training, and even cultural shifts within your organization.

Factors for Digital Transformation

Leadership Skills: Digital transformation needs a champion at the top. A company should consist of leaders who understand the vision and can guide the team through the changes.

Cross-functional Team Dynamics: Digital transformation isn’t just an IT project. It requires collaboration across departments, from marketing to sales to product development for smooth operation.

Problem Statement and Goals Alignment: What problem are you trying to solve with digital transformation? Clearly define your goals from the start to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Technologies are the driving force behind every significant change within a business tech landscape.

Technological Drivers Behind IT Transformation

Cloud: IT transformation mainly happens due to the need to move away from current, physical servers. Businesses often need to embrace the flexibility and scalability that cloud computing offers. Cloud platforms like Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer a wide range of services to update your IT operations.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): These technologies are very helpful in automating tasks, improving security, and gaining valuable insights from data.

Data Analytics: IT transformation provides the tools and infrastructure to store, manage, and analyze the data effectively.

Technological Drivers Behind Digital Transformation

Cloud Innovation: Cloud platforms are constantly evolving. They offer new features and services that can help businesses innovate and gain a competitive edge.

AI-fueled Automation: AI and ML are being used to automate a wide range of tasks, from customer service to marketing. This frees up employees to focus on more strategic work.

Remote Work: With digital transformation, employees can make sure they have the infrastructure and tools needed to support a remote workforce effectively.

Data Lifecycle Management: Organizations are more focused on managing their data throughout its entire lifecycle, from collection to storage to analysis. This requires strong data management and security protocols.

Metrics of Success in IT and Digital Evolution

One of the critical aspects of leading a successful transformation, whether IT or digital, is the ability to measure its success and return on investment (ROI).

Measuring ROI in IT Transformation

Cost Savings: Did your transformation project lead to reduced hardware or software costs? Are you saving money on maintenance or licensing fees?

Increased Efficiency: How much faster are your IT processes now? Can you measure a reduction in downtime or improved response times to issues?

Enhanced Security: Has your transformation improved your security position? Did you experience any data breaches before versus after?

Measuring ROI in Digital Transformation

Customer Satisfaction: Did your digital transformation efforts lead to a more positive customer experience? Are customers happier with your products or services? You can track metrics like customer satisfaction surveys, Net Promoter Score (NPS), or customer churn rate.

Increased Revenue: Did your digital transformation lead to new revenue streams or an increase in sales? This could be due to improved marketing efforts, a new e-commerce platform, or a more efficient sales process.

Employee Engagement: Did your digital transformation initiatives improve employee productivity or morale? Are employees more engaged and excited about their work? You can track metrics like employee surveys, absenteeism rates, or time spent on core tasks.

Comparing the Transformation Journey: IT vs. Digital

IT and digital transformation involve different journeys leading to transformation.

The Journey of IT Transformation

Planning: This is where you define your goals, assess your current IT landscape, and identify areas for improvement.

Roadmap Development: Once you know where you’re headed, you create a step-by-step plan with clear milestones and timelines.

Vendor Management: The transformation often involves using new technologies. You must carefully select and manage vendors to ensure smooth integration and ongoing support.

The Journey of Digital Transformation

Culture Change: Digital transformation relies on a culture that promotes innovation and experimentation. Employees at all levels need to be comfortable with adapting and learning new things.

Integrating Digital Technology: This involves simply merging digital tools and platforms into every aspect of your business, from marketing and sales to customer service and product development.

Framework Elements: A successful digital transformation strategy should include well-defined management, clear metrics to measure progress, and a focus on customer experience.

Also Read: How to Assess if Your Company is Ready for Digital Transformation?

Distinction Between End-State Goals and Ongoing Process

IT transformation often has a clearer end goal which is a more efficient, reliable IT infrastructure. After this, maintenance becomes the top priority. Digital transformation, on the other hand, is a continuous process. As technology evolves, a new approach must be utilized. It’s about being flexible and constantly adapting to changing customer needs and market trends.

Impact of Leadership and Organizational Culture

Both IT and digital transformation initiatives can be significantly impacted by a company’s culture. However, leaders play a critical role in setting the vision and driving transformation efforts.

Influence of Organizational Culture on IT and Digital Transformation

Here is what your organizational culture should look like:

Openness to Change: A culture that promotes experimentation and innovation is useful for successful transformation. Employees should feel comfortable trying new things and learning from failures.

Collaboration: IT and business teams need to work together seamlessly for successful transformation.

Customer Focus: Whether it’s modifying IT systems or launching new digital products, the ultimate goal should be to improve the customer experience.

Role of Leadership in Driving Transformation

Here is what strong leadership should include:

Executive Support: Top management needs to promote the transformation efforts and provide the resources and support needed for success.

Communication & Transparency: Leaders need to clearly communicate the goals and benefits of transformation to all employees and keep them informed throughout the process.

Change Management: In the end, transformation involves change, and leaders need to guide employees through the changing process effectively.

Real-world Examples and Case Studies

After diving deep into the differences between IT transformation and digital transformation let’s take a step back and see how these concepts play out in the real world.

IT Transformation: The Backbone of Modern Business

Netflix: The company originally started by mailing DVDs back in the day. But, Netflix didn’t just sit back and chill. They realized the future of streaming. They shifted from their traditional data centers to the cloud which allowed them to scale massively. This move ensured that millions could binge-watch without any issue.

Hospitality Industry: The hospitality industry is another fantastic example. Nowadays, hotels and resorts are modifying their IT infrastructures to be more efficient in their operations. This brings better customer experience from mobile check-ins to digital concierge services.

Digital Transformation: Reimagining the Game

Airbnb: Disrupted the entire hospitality industry by creating a peer-to-peer platform for accommodation. This wasn’t just about technology – it required a whole new way of thinking about travel and lodging.

Codewave’s extensive experience in new product development can help you harness digital transformation’s power, just like Airbnb, to not just adapt but also redefine your industry standards.

Retail Industry: Digital transformation has changed everything from inventory management to customer engagement. Retailers are using AI to predict trends, personalize shopping experiences, and streamline supply chains. This isn’t just about better sales online, it is also about using digital tools to enhance every business aspect.


Both IT transformation and digital transformation are crucial for success in today’s ever-evolving technology landscape. The world of IT and digital transformation is constantly changing, with new tools, trends, and opportunities emerging all the time.

Advancements in AI, machine learning, blockchain, and more will speed up the process in the future. Organizations need to rethink their approach, think two steps forward, and always be ready to adapt. Adaptability is key. A strong IT base and a willingness to embrace change can take a business forward in the coming day and age.

As the world of technology is changing fast and businesses need to be ready to adapt, it’s crucial to have a partner who understands the ever-evolving digital landscape. Whether you’re looking to build a new mobile app, revamp your website, or streamline your IT infrastructure for the cloud, Codewave can simplify the process.

We utilize our unique design thinking approach to help businesses navigate their digital transformation journeys easily. Codewave has proven to be a valuable asset in taking the business to the next level. With our proven portfolio of success in the USA, GCC, India, Canada, and Australia; our focus is always on discoverability to make your brand reach the right audience.

Check out our website to see how we can help you transform your business in this exciting digital age!

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