The 10 Thought Leaders Who Will Make You Smarter About Digital Transformation
June 24, 2019
We are more than five years down the digital transformation journey and the reality today is that the process extends well beyond digital and the journey, while transformative, is one of continuous evolution.
Digital transformation is no longer an IT initiative – it is more a phenomenon that must be top of mind for business leaders across all industries.
At Actual, we work with companies across the enterprise IT spectrum who design, create and market technology products and services designed to enable digital transformation across every facet of the customer experience. We’ve learned four key principles along the way that govern and shape how we work with our clients to ensure their success:
1. Digital transformation is software-empowered — but it’s most important characteristic is that it is customer-driven.
2.Digital transformation is not only about the customer experience: end-to-end transformation across the organization is required.
3. The “transformation” in digital transformation is really about organizational and cultural change more than technology change.
4. Digital transformation doesn’t have an end state. Rather, it’s a never-ending journey to establishing change itself as a core competency across the organization.
Here are the ten top digital transformation influencers we keep up with on a regular basis (in no particular order):
1. Brian Solis
We’ve been following @briansolis for a long time, even before he joined The Altimeter Group as a Principal Analyst in 2011. He’s among the sharpest and most consistently visionary minds and voices on digital transformation, technologies and their impact on business and society, and how to humanize innovation in service to the customer experience. If you want to sound really smart on these kinds of topics and be very entertaining at dinner parties at the same time, read Brian’s blog. If you want to look really smart with your CEO, give him Brian’s blog to read.
2. Craig Brown
@craigbrownphd is a refreshing voice in the digital transformation arena – which we quickly came to appreciate when we started following him a few years ago: he offers up jargon-free but compelling guidance in a way that has attracted a host of Fortune 1000 companies. Reaching back over 30 years, his approach in working with organizations begins with helping the everyday person solve everyday challenges – which goes to the heart of focusing on the organizational and human components of digital transformation. You can catch his thinking at work on his blog.
3. Holger Mueller
One of the reasons Constellation Research is a go-to resource for practical, insights on digital transformation is VP and Principal Analyst, Holger Mueller. @holgermu has a wide spectrum of expertise spanning the cloud, IaaS, Big Data, analytics, and SaaS development, where he focuses on the applicability of transformational technologies to the practitioner. His blog, Enterprise Software Musings by Holger Mueller, showcases his passion for the topic at hand — leading with real world guidelines for enterprises on their own digital transformation path.
4. Maggie Fox
Maggie Fox likes to say: “I like to build stuff and I like to fix stuff.” @MaggieFox founded the world’s first social media consultancy, Social MediaGroup. She is also a highly sought after speaker and CMO for hire, most recently serving at Aeroplan, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company. She has proven successful in senior B2B and B2C executive roles, successfully bridging the gap between startups and scaling to large enterprises by collaborating across teams to empower, support, and guide people to drive extraordinary results.
5. Rob Llewellyn
Cisco, GE, MetLife, Jaguar, Vodafone, Telstra and Hewlett Packard are just a few of the many brand names who have sought out @RobertLlewellyn for digital transformation counsel and guidance. He is the founder of CXO Transform, a platform he designed to help leaders increase their ability to navigate their business into digital economy success. We found Rob via his blog, where he shares some pretty amazing insights around the large scale enterprise-level transformation initiatives he has led – which we devour and borrow from regularly.
6. Dion Hinchcliffe
One of the other reasons Constellation Research is a go-to resource for practical insights on digital transformation is @dhinchcliffe, also a VP and Principal Analyst. If you don’t follow him at Constellation you’ve probably seen him over at ZDNet or read some of his great insights on his blog, “Notes on Internet and Business Transformation.” Dion must sleep on rare occasions: he is also a CXO advisor, professional speaker, business strategist and prolific author on the convergence of business and technology,
7. Isaac Sacolick
The common trait shared by everyone on our list is: prolific. Isaac Sacolick is the founder of the StarCIO blog, yet another trove of fantastic thought leadership and practical commentary. @nyike is a top 100 social CIO who has a particular expertise in agile development, big data and data science and data marketing. In addition to frequently contributing to CIO.com, isaac is the author of Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology.
8. Michael Krigsman
As the host of CXOTalk, Michael has conducted hundreds of live interviews and panels. But he’s far from just a talking head: in addition to over 1,000 articles authored for ZDNet on innovation,, digital disruption and leadership, @mkrigsman is an industry analyst ranked the #1 CIO influencer by Apollo research and a frequent keynote speaker and his work has been mentioned more than 1,000 times in major newspapers, television, radio, trade publications, presentations, academic dissertations, blogs, and other media.
9. Ronald Van Loon
Van Loon is a long-time thought leader who currently serves as Director at Advertisement. He is big on AI as part of the transformation process: “every business needs an AI strategy and must prepare an end-to-end AI management solution for 2019.” @Ronald_VanLoon offers great insights on his own blog and is also a frequent contributor to several leading big data sites including The Guardian, Datafloq and Data Science Central, where he focuses on his passion: helping data-driven companies generate business value.
10. Howard Tiersky
So, earlier I said that “prolific” is a common shared by everyone on our list — add “passionate” as well. @tiersky is a great example of that: he is CEO & Founder of FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency – and a passionate speaker, as we can attest, at major industry conferences on transformation and enterprise innovation. Tiersky is a contributing writer at CIO.com. Howard has an interesting background as well – he was VP, Media & Entertainment at Capgemini working with companies including NBC and Turner advising on digital media strategy. And like many on this list he is a frequent – and very informative – contributor to CIO.com.
Let me know your thoughts on our list – there are many other thought leaders out there including a few we’re probably not aware of yet.