Marketing Digital Transformation: It’s More Than Technology

Success in marketing digital transformation can mean different things to different people. Some define it as implementing new technology like Salesforce or Adobe.

But as a marketing operations consultancy, we know that technology is just one piece of a successful marketing digital transformation. Technology is an enabler, a means to an end, not the end-all solution. Without people behind it, technology is a toy, not a tool. The people who use it, who standardize processes and consume and interpret information are what really matter. For a successful digital transformation, people must be supported by standardized processes, actionable information and modern, cloud-based technology.

Technology Is Not a Panacea for Marketing

How many times has a business executive tried to solve a problem by throwing technology at it? This tech-first-and-only play rarely works and is a sure path to failure. Humans, by nature, don’t like change, but it’s people that drive digital transformation. Technology only supports it. It’s always people using digital technology to create assets (even print assets), search for products and consume digital content. Digital transformation is all about making people’s lives easier, whether it’s at work or at home.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned the hard way that when we introduce technology to a broken process, all it does is produce a faster version of the same broken process – and frustrate the people using the technology. Without balancing people, process, technology and information, digital transformation can’t succeed.

For example, a company falling short in new customer revenue may discover that an understaffed, unorganized sales organization that doesn’t use a common sales methodology is the root cause for lagging sales. The marketplace doesn’t understand its products, which aren’t competitively priced. Sales representatives must “customize” every deal to close the sale.

If this were your organization, how would you approach this? Some sales executives might try to fix this problem by slapping on a technology Band-Aid like Salesforce Sales Cloud. But because the root cause hasn’t been addressed, the problem only grows worse. Salesforce is a world-class sales enablement technology, but without addressing the underlying problems, it can only do so much. It’s a technology, not a digital transformation solution, which requires an approach that encompasses people, process, technology and information.

Confusing technology with solutions happens a lot. But focusing on capabilities is a better way to approach problems. Capabilities are essentially responsibilities with consideration for the People, Process, technology and Information (PPtI) needed to accomplish the responsibility. Companies that succeed in marketing digital transformation understand how process, technology and information come together to support people.

What Is PPtI?

PPtI is CapabilitySource’s fundamental methodology to design and deliver marketing digital transformations. Using a PPtI approach to digital transformation helps organizations use existing tools and new technologies to generate information and power processes that help people work faster and smarter. A PPtI approach to marketing digital transformation works because it focuses on people first. If your digital experience (DX) project invests more time and resources on technology than process design, implementation, change management and user support, your DX initiative is not balanced. 

Of the four, People, Process, technology and Information, one is the most unique to your organization – and the most difficult for competition to copy. And it’s not technology. Most companies choose the same vendors for technology, which in itself is not a differentiator. It’s how you use the technology to power your unique business processes and manage information, which is driven by the people in your organization. In digital transformation, you need the same mix of People, Process, technology and Information.

So Why and How Does It Work?

CapabilitySource DX specialists have seen many approaches to digital transformation over the course of hundreds of projects. And in our experience, projects that put people first are the ones that succeed, leveraging the PPtI methodology. Here’s how it works.


Leaders sometimes overlook the importance of their people when planning and executing DX projects. Yet user adoption is the most important element in any DX project. Just because we build it, that does not mean they will come. Many leaders think they can mandate technology adoption, but users always have the final say and may reject the technology based on their own preferences. Driving adoption requires a change management framework like ADKAR to gain user feedback early in a digital transformation program and keep them engaged throughout.


Processes drive efficiency, effectiveness and quality and establish an operational advantage. Technology enables processes, and in turn processes generate and use information. They can be standardized and automated, but they are what gives an organization an advantage over another in a digital, virtual and commoditized world. For example, Amazon carries the same products as many other retailers. It’s their commerce, distribution and personalization processes that create a competitive advantage. To enable digital transformation, we suggest developing processes that differentiate your organization and implementing continuous improvement activities like Kanban.


There is a reason the ‘t’ in PPtI is lowercase. As an enabler, technology makes good people more effective, enhances good processes so that they’re more efficient and predictable, and enables more accurate and actionable information. When used to complement good processes and support people, technology amplifies success. But if it’s implemented  to “fix” bad processes and replace people, technology accelerates failure.


For most organizations, information has become a critical business asset, particularly if they have shifted from physical to digital products. For example, greeting cards, books, music, movies and face-to-face meetings have all transformed from tangible things to digital information. It’s the same in marketing; poor data quality heavily impacts performance. It leads to poor messaging, bad timing, compliance incidents, low conversion and poor ROI. High-quality information is essential for personalization, strong engagement, high-conversion and marketing ROI.

Ready to Take a PPtI Approach to Digital Transformation? Start Here.

At the end of the day, to deliver marketing digital transformation, People, Process, technology and Information must all work in sync. While some organizations fall into the trap of investing most efforts on technology, we at CapabilitySource encourage you to take a holistic approach to your digital transformation and place the greatest amount of focus on people. CapabilitySource clients that have adopted a people-first approach have saved up to $1MM in annual marketing cost and increased production capacity by up to 30%. Putting people first in digital transformation works. Are you ready for the PPtI approach to digital transformation?


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