Digital Transformation

The difference between being digital and being digitally transformed

digitally transformed

I think people, at least those that give it any thought, often confuse the transformation in “digital transformation” as a transformation to digital.

Those people are wrong:

Digital transformation is a transformation of digital from “your process” to “your customers’ experience.”

I have hundreds of examples but let me give you one that happened to me this week. Actually, over nine days spanning two weeks.

I had to get a prescription filled.

Yes, nine days.

I live in New York.

In New York, it is mandatory to use e-prescriptions.

The prescription process has been digitized. It’s digital. (You can imagine some IT person saying “OK, it’s digital, we’re done, right?”)

Digitally transformed has not been transformed into the experience

You see, at one point over the past nine days, the filled prescription was sitting at the wrong pharmacy for me to pick up. The only one who knew was the pharmacist (but they didn’t know I hadn’t picked it up).

I got a weird notification from someone I didn’t recognize. Here’s an image, because you won’t believe it.


  1. Unidentified sender.
  2. Are you telling me my doctor is not doing their job? What is “0 prescriptions?”
  3. And you can’t tell, but I saw this notification on my watch, and inside the notification is a URL I’m supposed to click on. What am I supposed to do with a URL on my watch? (Let’s pretend it’s a cellular watch, and I don’t have a phone for the sake of me being really annoying.)

So, you’ve all taken the e-mail security course on the LMS. What does it tell you to do when you get an e-mail from an unknown sender, that doesn’t appear to have proper English (or, presumably French), and asks you to click on a link?

Not click.

Yet here, it’s forcing me to behave in a way counter to infosec standards.

What prescription is it?

I never find that out, even after I click.

When I click, it is from a company I don’t know of (they’re the service provider that gives my physician e-prescribe capabilities – a SaaS for e-prescriptions). They ask for my name and birthdate (!!!) but don’t tell me what I’m giving it to them for.

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I don’t get any notifications that the prescription has been sent. I don’t know where it’s been sent to. I don’t know that it’s ready for me to pick up (at the wrong place). I don’t know that I haven’t picked up a medication that I’ve been subscribed (I was busy this week).

Now, it turns out this was the second time the doc did the prescription. The first time it was to the right place, but for some reason was canceled (by the doctor). So, I spent hours on the phone trying to figure out what was going on, because there was no status anywhere about what was happening (just that it wasn’t showing up in the system – not even that it was submitted, and then canceled). I had one of those – doctor says, “call the pharmacy, pharmacy says, call the doctor days” which you non-Americans are probably unfamiliar with.

There’s more, but that’s enough for now. You get the point.

Clearly the process… the doctor writing a prescription and taking that prescription to the pharmacy to have the prescription filled… has been digitized.

But it has not been transformed into the experience.

READ MORE: Learn why you need digital transformation for the future.

Last point. Should be obvious.

If you do want to think about the experience, what’s the first question to ask?

Whose experience are we talking about?

The patient?

The pharmacist?

The doctor?

The pharmaceutical company?

The insurance company?

By the way, that’s also the list of losers when I don’t get my medication for nine+ days. That’s right.

I lose because I don’t have the right meds.

The pharmacist loses because they don’t sell meds (that’s their business).

The doctor, he loses because his patient is not on the proper care plan (and more and more, doctors are being paid on outcomes). Not to mention the costs of dealing with all this back-and-forth on the phone (so there’s an employee/staff experience element of it too).

The pharmaceutical company loses because I am not consuming their product or as much of their product.

The insurance company loses because if the meds are important, not taking meds impacts my health, which impacts my cost of care.

So, again, it’s not about transformation to digital. It’s about transforming digital from your process to your customers’ (and partners and employees) experience.

Learn more! Read how you can navigate the network to digital transformation.