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Bottoms-up Digital Transformation 


Bottoms-up Digital Transformation 

This short post from Nora Ghaoui reveals how a digital strategy that starts at the bottom is the best way to achieve top-down transformation. 

I want to share the story of the Philips digital strategy to illustrate a point that I have observed: A top-down transformation only gains momentum after bottom-up initiatives have reached their limits.

When I made the digital strategy for Philips in 2013, it was a holistic vision of how Philips could build “digital” into the core of its business model. The strategy required the company to create one integrated IT landscape, one cloud infrastructure, one brand identity, one digital marketing approach and one view of the customer across all products and services. The executive team embraced and expanded on it and the result is what you see today.

An interesting thing about this strategy is that many elements inside it weren’t new. There had been digital products created already, such as Hue. Work was already being done on integrating the IT landscape and unifying the digital marketing approach. But they were being done independently of each other. Some initiatives were inadvertently duplicating or contradicting each other, and often they didn’t know that the others existed.

The digital strategy brought all these elements together because when it comes to digital and data, all processes, systems and content become connected to deliver more value to the customers. Hence the need for a top-down transformation approach to bring consistency and scalability.

However, I doubt you can do the top-down approach from the start. I don’t think the digital strategy would have been embraced if the bottom-up initiatives hadn’t existed already to show the way. By having tangible examples of what a digital product or service could look like, the transformation was easier to bring to life. By showing the contradictions in user interface design, it was easier to show why a unified UI approach was needed.

What have you experienced in your transformation? Have you seen that top-down transformation follows bottom-up?


Key points include:

  • Building digital into the core business model
  • Integrating the IT landscape
  • Consistency and scalability


Read the full article, Top-down transformation comes after bottom-up, on