Digital transformation: how's that going?

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Apr 14, 2016

18%, says a recent study. Let's discuss the extent of adoption of digital products and processes. This choice of topic is triggered by the study "Digital America: a tale of the haves and have-mores" by the McKinsey Global Institute.

This is a substantial piece of work on one of the most widespread innovations of recent decades, which continues to permeate many areas of our lives. Published in December 2015, it studies the extent of adoption of digital facilities for a wide range of economic activities and processes, with emphasis on the dimensions of the sectors of business and the roles of people.

Nevertheless, there are some limitations to be taken into account when considering its conclusions. This study:

  • is not global, it is about America
  • is not general, it is focussed on economic activity.

Yet one of their high level conclusions is:

“... we find that the US economy as a whole is reaching only 18 percent of its digital potential...“

The meaning which you attribute to that conclusion and whether you consider that to be a high or low number depends on many factors and on what you expected. The inclusion of "only" implies that the authors consider, or expect or want their readers to consider, that 18% is a low number.

Perhaps more importantly, the study reports findings on the rate of change of the level of digitization of the American economy and the spread of those rates across sectors.

See below for links to more information. It's unlikely that you will read the 100+ page report in preparation for this chat, or even its 17 page executive summary, but you might read its one page "In brief" introductory summary. Also there are other articles introducing the publication.


Let's discuss this topic of the extent of digital transformation during #innochat on Thursday April 14, 2016 at 12pm EDT.

This week, it's another free-wheeling chat without preposed questions (we seem to be having them on alternate weeks recently).


McKinsey announcement of the publication of the study: "Digital America: A tale of the haves and have-mores", where the full report is also available for free download.

HBR articles:
"The Most Digital Companies Are Leaving All the Rest Behind"

"Which Industries Are the Most Digital (and Why)?"


All donations go to help defray hosting, maintenance and domain name costs. Thanks!