Digital Strategy

Digital Transformation: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Embracing a digital transformation strategy can help you avoid going the way of the dinosaur.

Does digital transformation matter?

Digital transformation isn’t just a high-level concept to debate in a boardroom, it can directly impact your company, your product success and your job security. Researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management have found that companies who fail to address digital transformation experience 30% lower revenue and 25% lower earnings. And other research shows that digital disruption may wipe out 40% of Fortune 500 firms in the next 10 years. Embracing a digital transformation strategy can help you avoid going the way of the dinosaur.

What is digital transformation?

To succeed with digital transformation, experts say that companies need to address four key principles:

  • Focus on customer experience: companies need to look beyond the physical product that comes out of R&D and consider the entire customer experience. For example, instead of thinking about making a car, BMW’s DriveNow service reimagines urban mobility. Making a car is part of the solution, but there are also mobile apps, driver recruiting, marketing strategies, parking, pricing and more.
  • Support for new business models: companies need to think past the sale of a physical product and consider complementary services or markets. For example, IoT startup Samsara not only sells an IoT device for fleet management, but also complementary services like remote monitoring and WiFi hotspots for driver productivity.
  • Rapid responsiveness: customer responsiveness and transparency are critical for digital transformation. For example, a large American food company was frequently losing deals to more nimble competitors because it had a hard time coordinating sales, engineering and operations respond to customers with timely quotes for new food ideas.
  • Openness to new partners: customer experience and new business models mean that you often have to collaborate with all types of companies. For example, the Verily Smart Lens is a collaboration between Novartis and Google – two companies that would have never crossed paths just a few years ago.

Today’s challenges with digital transformation

Addressing these key principles is difficult. Specialized, siloed, internal and outdated systems like legacy PLM, ERP and PIM result in:

  • Lost revenue because new product launches are uncoordinated and delayed across R&D, marketing, sales, distributors and retailers
  • Lower customer loyalty because of poor product experiences and slow responsiveness to customer issues
  • Higher costs from rework, excess inventory and legacy IT expenses
  • Reduced employee productivity and adoption, especially with millennials in the workplace

How Propel’s Cloud PLM helps with digital transformation

That’s why we built Propel. We’re a cloud Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software solution that can propel your digital transformation.

We’re the only PLM solution that places your customer and product information in one place, so you can understand everything that your customers care about – including requirements, pricing, marketing assets, quality issues and design updates.

Unlike most PLM systems that focus solely on mechanical designs, Propel looks at the bigger picture of concept to customer – taking a product from a simple idea to commercialization in the marketplace to your customers engaging with your product. We offer all the functionality you expect in a PLM solution and more. So you can manage BOMs and changes, but also things outside the realm of traditional PLM, like managing marketing activities, updating channels with pricing changes, and certifying partners on the latest product training.


A few more facts about what makes us different:

  • Propel is built on a modern cloud, the Salesforce App Cloud, which Gartner calls a cloud platform leader. The platform is super scalable and reliable, so we can integrate with any app and grow with your business.
  • Since we’re on a modern cloud platform, collaboration is built into Propel. So you can work with all your employees, partners, channels and customers. And multiple layers of security always keep your data safe.
  • And Propel is extremely flexible, so you can easily configure Propel to suit your changing business and customer needs. Custom fields, categories and approval processes – they’re all under your control.


Miguel Tam


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