43 digital transformation resources for CIOs and leaders

Here's where to get started if you want to get to grips with this exciting and evolving field.

Digital transformation is a massive topic that continues to evolve. That makes for an exciting field, but one that can be hard to get your arms around. Where do you start?

Different individuals learn in different ways. For some, understanding digital transformation may start with a well-researched book or white paper. Others may want to attend a conference or watch a video presentation.

With this in mind, we've curated some essential digital transformation resources, ranging from Twitter profiles you should follow to trade shows you should attend. The goal? To give Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and business leaders a basic understanding of the many issues involved with digital transformation. This guide won’t make you an expert, but it will set you on the right path toward mastering a complex and changing field.

Let’s get started. 

Books

These books all present digital transformation primers followed by deep dives into the ongoing disruption of modern business. 

Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation

George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee published this essential field guide to digital transformation in 2014. The authors push past obvious examples like the disruption of the newspaper industry to show how the trend is impacting all types of businesses across the globe. Read this one first.

The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age

Columbia Business School digital strategy professor David L. Rogers leverages his years of research in digital transformation to elaborate on how legacy businesses can kick-start their own revolutions.

Digital Transformation: A Model to Master Digital Disruption 

Jo Caudron and Dado Van Peteghem discuss their methodology of Digital Transformation Modeling, which aims to define the potential impact of digital disruption on businesses, create scenarios for the future, and model business cases and best practices.

Digital or Death: Digital Transformation - The Only Choice for Business to Survive, Smash, and Conquer

This book, written by entrepreneur and consultant Dominic Mazzone, presents real-world examples with the goal of motivating business leaders to think about digital strategy in new ways.

Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation

This treatise by Forrester’s James McQuivey is another acclaimed handbook that digs into the nuts and bolts of digital transformation, explaining how upstart companies have disrupted long-standing industries, and how big players can disrupt themselves before the upstarts do.

For more worthwhile digital transformation books, check out the selections here and here.

Conferences

With a solid base of understanding courtesy of the written word, it’s time to turn to your contemporaries and undertake some face-to-face networking. Conferences are especially useful tools in the world of digital transformation, giving executives a rare glimpse inside the operations of their competitors and an opportunity to learn from their successes and mistakes. Here are five digital transformation conferences coming up that are worth your consideration. (Note that some have multiple installments each year in different locations.)

Forrester Digital Transformation Forums (Chicago, May 2017)

Forrester leads one of the biggest and most well-attended digital transformation forums, which are typically one- or two-day events held several times per year. The show also hits Mumbai in May and London in June.

The Economist Digital Transformation (Madrid, November 2016)

Designed for C-suite executives, this invitation-only event fosters networking and conversations about tech, business model disruption, hiring, and other hot transformation topics.

Enterprise Digital Summit (London, November 2016)

Listen to thought leaders discuss trends in digital disruption while they outline their own experiences with it. A future installment hits Paris in June 2017.

AGENDA (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, March 2017)

Described as an immersive and interactive experience, this event is designed for high-level executives and has a strong focus on leadership in the digitally transformed age.

CEO2CEO (New York, December 2016)

This event offers a full day of speakers, roundtables, and breakout sessions in which CEOs talk strategy and take deep dives into today’s biggest tech trends.

For a deeper look at digital transformation conferences, check out this post on the top twenty to attend.

Blogs and websites

There’s no shortage of blogs covering digital transformation, with top-tier consultancies and analyst firms leading the way. While many business strategy writers cover the topic of digital transformation on an occasional basis, the following blogs make a habit out of it.

Forrester

Forrester’s digital transformation blog is typically updated a few times each month, offering Q&As with industry leaders, case studies, and opinion pieces.

Enterprise.nxt (this site) 

The editorial mission of HPE's Enterprise.nxt is simple: To equip you with actionable insight on what's next for your business and the practical knowledge you need to meet challenges in the here and now. Enterprise.nxt features leading digital transformation experts from business and academia, as well as insights from HPE leaders..

Perficient

This consulting firm focuses on digital transformation, and its blog offers regularly updated insights regarding change management, strategy, and the global impact of digital transformation.

Centric Digital

This consultancy's blog focuses on the changes that digital has wrought. The firm's experts write on a near-daily basis about the impact of digital on various verticals (including government), how to develop a digital strategy, and how to develop fine-grained transformational tactics.

Microsoft Transform

Redmond’s digital transformation blog is heavy on case studies, with example after example about how digital tools have created significant and lasting changes across a wide variety of industries.

Accenture

Accenture’s blog offers a strong focus on regulatory and macroeconomic issues, providing perspective from a policy standpoint.

Social, Agile, and Transformation

Isaac Sacolik is a “social CIO” who offers his personal perspective on digital transformation, providing a nice contrast to more corporate, multi-author blogs.

Digital leaders to follow on Twitter

There’s no shortage of activity around #digitaltransformation in the twitterverse. The challenge is figuring out who to follow out of the hundreds or thousands of self-professed experts in digital transformation. We’ve taken a crack at boiling it down to 10 essential leaders (including a few dark horses), but you’ll find plenty of other credible experts by checking out the additional resources that follow our starter list.

Brian Solis @briansolis

Pundit, analyst, and author Solis is one of the foremost pros on digital transformation, tweeting almost daily about the topic.

Shelly Kramer @shellykramer

V3 Broadsuite’s CEO is an expert on the topic, tweeting frequently about big data, IoT, and other topics related to the world of digital transformation.

Daniel Newman @danielnewmanuv

A frequent speaker on digital transformation, this analyst focuses on the impact people can have in transforming organizations.

Sarah Buxton @sarah_theoe 

The marketing pro tweets on disruption, AI, design, and a bevy of topics related to digital transformation.

Alain Waha @alainwanderings 

In between posts about sailing and soccer, the digital transformation veteran tweets about the latest goings-on in his field.

Franco Ronconi @frronconi 

Ronconi focuses on the digital transformation of healthcare.

Ronald van Loon @ronald_vanloon 

The Dutch tech pro tweets about data science, IoT, analytics, and other topics related to digital transformation.

Rob Llewellyn @robertllewellyn 

An SAP adviser and author of Digital Business Transformation, Llewellyn takes frequent deep dives into the challenges and opportunities inherent in the field.

Satya Nadella @satyanadella 

As the CEO of a little company called Microsoft, Nadella knows a thing or two about how digital technology disrupts businesses.

Tim Hughes @timothy_hughes 

The founder of Digital Leadership Associates, Hughes looks at the social aspects of digital transformation and the impact it has on social issues.

For even more digital transformation pros and their Twitter accounts, check out Onalytica’s top 100 digital transformation influencers list, our own article Top 20 digital transformation leaders to follow on Twitter, and bookmark the #digitaltransformation hashtag. 

Reports and white papers

The past 12 months have been a boom time for white papers on digital transformation, with numerous free, high-grade reports on the field hitting the web. White papers are easier to access and quicker to digest than books, but many offer similar information and, in some cases, unique insights into the topic. Here are some of the best white papers on digital transformation you’ll find at present. Note that all links go directly to the white paper’s PDF whenever possible.

World Economic Forum - Digital Transformation of Industries: Digital Enterprise

Written in collaboration with Accenture, this lengthy treatise takes a heavy look at digital business models and related metrics.

Enterprise.nxt: How to Win in an Era of Constant Change

An in-depth survey of digital business trends from HPE transformation guru Mike Shaw. 

The 2016 State of Digital Transformation

Building upon his 2014 research on digital transformation, principal analyst Brian Solis studied how companies are changing, and the challenges and opportunities they face.

SAP - Conquering Disruption Through Digital Transformation

A high-level discussion of the core technologies inherent with digital transformation endeavors, with an argument that strong leadership is required to link them all together.

Capgemini Consulting - Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations 

Based on a study done in conjunction with MIT, this report analyzes how digital transformation is impacting real businesses, in real time.

EMC - Competing for Digital Customers: Why Companies Must Embrace Digital Transformation Now 

The answer to the title’s question might seem obvious, but EMC’s white paper includes insightful case studies and makes a strong case for why businesses need to move quickly.

Forrester - Digital Experience Technology and Delivery Priorities 

This dispatch is loaded with statistics and analysis of the core technologies driving digital transformation.

PwC - Global Digital IQ Survey

This vast survey asks leaders how they ensure that their digital investments have true value and identifies key determinants of financial success.

GE - Powering the Future: Leading the Digital Transformation of the Power Industry 

This paper shows how one of the most entrenched industries in the world is dealing with digital disruption.

Videos

Not every primer on digital transformation requires reading reams of material. These videos run the gamut from one-man shows to lively discussions among today’s smartest digital transformation experts.

Leading Digital Transformation Now - No Matter What Business You’re In 

A keynote on digital transformation by Capgemini’s Didier Bonnet, from a recent Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Davos 2016 - The Digital Transformation of Industries 

A World Economic Forum roundtable featuring tech leaders from several industries. 

What big bets are companies making in the digital transformation of their business models and organizational structures?

What Digital Transformation Means for Business 

Another lively panel discussion hosted by editors of the MIT Sloan Management Review.

The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation 

A recent Harvard Business Review webinar, with useful slides on some of the biggest opportunities in digital transformation.

Digital transformation and the evolving role of technology 

A solid overview from the Envision show.

David Rogers on The Digital Transformation Playbook 

A quick video introduction to the topic by author David Rogers (see the books section above).

Digital transformation and the future of business: Futurist Speaker Gerd Leonhard in Warsaw 

A wide-ranging lecture on digital transformation, complete with slides. Many of Leonhard’s other speeches can be found on YouTube.

What big bets are companies making in the digital transformation of their business models and organizational structures?