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The six layers of digital transformation

Digital Transformation is no longer an option but a necessity for businesses of any size and level of complexity. It is the only way to remain competitive in a world that switches ever more rapidly between old and new ways of communicating and where omnichannel sales are key.

First and foremost, Digital Transformation is a change in company culture and involves a new understanding of how the organization must work. Digital calls for remodeling processes and information flows and adopting new business models fit to exploit the opportunities ushered in by new technologies, new media, and new communication channels. Digital technologies can help to support and manage processes.


“The tools and services that technologies offer can help to govern the hyperconnectivity that comes with a digital world so that it improves the quality of people’s lives and the company’s business performance.”


The only way to absorb such a radical level of change is to adopt a robust approach, a rigorous method, and adequate tools. This requires both long- and short-term strategies made up of intermediate steps so that the organization can become fully digital without stumbling along the way. What is required, instead, is a complete rethinking of the processes and business model
with which the company does business. This rethinking must start with a thorough analysis of the current reality, followed by a consistent redesign of processes that will impact various aspects of the digital supply chain of a product.

Where do we start?

There can be no real digital transformation unless it starts from the production flow of digital content of products and the brand, also known as the product editorial process. It is this content that provides the fuel that feeds the transformation process, and companies need to create the right structure to produce this content with the right workflows and digital tools.

In every organization, there are content generators and content consumers. A thorough review and redesign of the processes connected with the production and sharing of product content is where an effective transformation process must start.

Digital is radically changing how and where brands reach out to consumers. Interactions between brands and consumers are now happening at a speed and in ways that were previously inconceivable and the number of channels and media where brands need to be present has greatly multiplied.

The Digital Supply Chain

The new paradigms for multichannel communication, promotion, and sales are forcing brands to build a solid Digital Supply Chain. However, the processes for producing and using digital content often lack alignment and synchronization with the operational needs of the people involved in the Product Supply Chain.

The two supply chains, digital and physical, must intertwine like the strands of DNA with the right pace and synchronization. For this reason, embarking on the path of digitization, as we stated, inevitably involves tackling an organizational redesign, and this endeavor must be supported by a suitable method and adequate tools.

As illustrated in Figure 1, in our opinion, there can be no real digital transformation unless the Product Supply Chain is synchronized with the Digital Supply Chain. The Product Supply Chain and the Digital Supply Chain must intertwine and interdepend and this connection must be supported by an adequate organizational design and tools that help us manage the inevitable entropy.


Figure 1 – Interdependence between the Product Supply Chain and the Digital Supply Chain (source Hyphen-Italia)


“Digitization is no longer a choice. The more an organization is capable of operating the digital shift proficiently, the more competitive it will become. The opposite is sadly true and there are already casualties among brands who have not been able to make the shift in time”

The six layers of digital transformation

Successful digital transformation can only take place when the digital content supply chain is integrated effectively with the product supply chain.

  1. There are at least six main areas, or layers, where this change has to happen (Figure 2):
  2. Sales
  3. Communication and Promotion
  4. Product R&D
  5. Industrial Processes
  6. Logistics
  7. Management of work environment (Comfort, Productivity, Safety, Sustainability)


Figure 2 – The six layers of digital transformation (source Hyphen-Italia)

The Digital Revolution that occurred in the publishing world did not only change the process of printing; digital technology impacted every process involved, from the concept of a magazine, book, flyer, to the production of finished materials. Desktop publishing revolutionized the techniques for the creation, prepress preparation, and printing of published products. Just a few years later, print was no longer the only channel for publishing and soon became secondary compared to digital publishing and the web.

What unites the transformation that took place within traditional publishing and the new digital transformation is content! The editorial process was the “factory” for the printing trade. Omnichannel communication is leading companies to understand that content (editorial material) is increasingly important for them. We began to propose to our brand customers the same change process that we had provided to large publishers: Brands become actual publishers.

The content of this article is extracted from Chapter 9 of the book “Moving the Chains – an operational solution for embracing complexity in the Digital Age” by dr. Domenico Lepore Founder Intelligent Managemnt Inc.. This chapter was written by Stefano Righetti, CEO Hyphen-Italia.

Hyphen-Italia is a strategic Business Partner of Intelligent Management and in a certain way their Italian family on awesome Lake Garda.