June 25, 2020

19 Quotes on Digital Transformation for C-Suite Executives

Executive quotes

Updated June 25, 2020

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has said that digital transformation is a fundamental reality for businesses today.

Organizations realize that to postpone their digital transformation puts them at further risk of obsolescence. It is up to a company’s leadership team to commandeer this revolution while ensuring business continuity. We have curated quotes from some of the world’s leading thinkers, innovators, and industry leaders that address the different dimensions of digital transformation.



1. “Clearly, the thing that’s transforming is not the technology — the technology is transforming you.”

  • Jeanne W. Ross of MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research


2.  “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

  • George Westerman, Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy.


3. “Every successful organization has to make the transition from a world defined primarily by repetition to one primarily defined by change. This is the biggest transformation in the structure of how humans work together since the Agricultural Revolution.”

  • Bill Drayton, Social entrepreneur


4. “We’ve moved from digital products and infrastructure to digital distribution and Web strategy to now into more holistic transformations that clearly are based on mobile, social media, digitization and the power of analytics and we think it’s really a new era requiring new strategies.”

  • Saul Berman, Chief Strategist, VP & Global Digital Business Strategy Practice Leader for IBM Global Business Services.


5. “Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years. What is coming at us is bigger than the original internet and you need to understand it, get on board with it and figure out how to transform your business.”

  • Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media



6. "All predictions point to a cyberwar in the next few years, and very few businesses know how to address it, defend against it or insulate their businesses from it. That spells economic ruin."

  • Kristina Libby, Chief Science Officer at Hypergiant


7.   “Accountability for cyber risk will move up the org chart, with forward thinking businesses appointing board members with experience in risk management and information security.”

  •  RSA


8. “It is imperative for the risk function to accelerate its digitization efforts, since it will be increasingly hard to stay analog while customer-facing activities and operations race ahead into digital.” 

  • McKinsey & Company


9.  “You can't hold firewalls and intrusion detection systems accountable. You can only hold people accountable.”

  • Daryl White, CIO, Department of the Interior of the United States


10.  “My message for companies that think they haven’t been attacked is: You’re not looking hard enough.”

  • James Snook, Deputy Director of Business, Crime and Skills in the Office for Cyber Security, UK



11.  “Think of digital transformation less as a technology project to be finished than as a state of perpetual agility, always ready to evolve for whatever customers want next, and you’ll be pointed down the right path.”

  • Amit Zavery, VP and Head of Platform, Google Cloud


12. “Don’t be fooled by some of the digital transformation buzz out there, digital transformation is a business discipline or company philosophy, not a project. “

  • Katherine Kostereva is the CEO and managing partner of bpm online


13.  “Become a change-ready organization. This goes beyond being able to deploy a new tool or process — it means building a culture and communication structure that is ready, willing and able to adapt to any change. After all, the rate of change and evolution in business and technology is only going to continue and even pick up speed.”

  • Keith Kitani, CEO of GuideSpark 


14. With fast ideas comes faster innovation: 60% of Apple’s revenue comes from products that didn’t exist 4 years ago. That’s a blistering pace of innovation. Expect that to become the norm in most industries as the future accelerates, product lifecycles collapse, and disruption disrupts.”

  • Jim Carroll, Futurist


15. “In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.”

  • Jeff Bezo, CEO and President, Amazon



16. “The reality is, many digital transformations fail because companies aren’t integrating their business and technology strategies from the start. It’s imperative that CIOs know how to quantify their progress with AI and digitization technologies and understand how to effectively communicate this value to key stakeholders.”

  • Chris Bedi, CIO of ServiceNow


17. “As planning and budgeting for 2020 are now top of mind, don’t forget that without customers, you don’t have a business. Make sure that customer experience efforts are fully funded and resourced to provide the best experience possible in a competitive marketplace.”

  • Dan Gingiss, Keynote speaker and the author of “Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media”


18. “When it comes to marrying online with offline efforts, technology is not a driver, but it is critical in making it happen”

  • Alison Corcoran, CMO and President of DentaQuest Partnership


19. “Disruptors don’t set out to beat you at your own game — they change the rules.”

  • Kai Riemer, Professor of Information Technology & Organisation, University of Sydney, Australia


20. “The most important thing is to make the technology inclusive - make the world change. Next, pay attention to those people who are 30 years old, because those are the internet generation. They will change the world; they are the builders of the world.”

  • Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group


Digital transformation is a team initiative.  George Westerman of MIT sums it up well, “digital transformation requires changes to processes and thinking—changes that span your internal organizational silos.”  Organizations that have successfully undergone digital transformation find that partnering with technology outsourcers and customers increases success. Digital transformation also results in more agile processes, technology ecosystems and organizational philosophies.  Technology and business process outsourcers can bridge internal culture, skill, technology and data gaps that become stumbling blocks to digital adoption.



























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