In my last post, I submitted my simple definition of digital transformation: “Digital transformation is the change to a digital-first approach that improves the experience of doing business for everyone.” I also promised to give some examples of digital transformation.

In doing so, I feel like it’s important for the examples to meet the criteria for my definition of true digital transformation:

  • Transformation: Examples should showcase legacy, non-digital-native companies
  • Digital First: A pervasive mind shift within the organization.
  • Everyone Wins: The results have to be good for everyone involved.

Cary, N.C.

Like almost every other government entity in the U.S., Cary, North Carolina was drowning in a sea of legacy applications with minimal integration and loads of technical debt.

CIO Nicole Raimundo’s answer was a digital-first, platform strategy. She chose Salesforce to replace dozens of legacy applications and workflows used for things like work orders, permits, and onboarding. “We’re looking at things more strategically, adding a focus on mobile, cloud systems and platforms,” Raimundo said.

With a platform approach, Raimundo was able to get some quick wins, and the town now has a more comprehensive look at residents and their needs.

“Instead of looking at a singular application for one department, it’s about creating a platform that goes across the town that everyone can interact with.” Because of Raimundo’s approach and digital-first thinking, the town now also has an open data portal and public wifi in town-owned facilities.

For her strategy and results, she was chosen the Public Sector CIO of the Year in 2016 by the North Carolina Technology Association.

The advantage for the town, not just its residents, is that with a proven, demonstrated digital-first approach, it becomes a stronger magnet for technology savvy organizations.


In terms of airlines thinking digital first, JetBlue is leading the way. You have them to thank for satellite-based in-air wifi, among other things.

CIO Eash Sundaram says that he sees technology as an enabler. He feels like if he can put the right technology into the hands of the right people, especially customers, then everyone can do more with less.

Eliminating friction points like passenger check-ins has become a priority for companies like Jet Blue and Delta, and Sundaram’s team is employing technologies like NFC (near field communications, the same radio technology that underpins mobile payment experiences like Apple Pay) to eliminate or streamline the check-in process.

Attendants will soon be armed with devices containing passenger info, like who in their travel party has diet restrictions, so that in-flight service can be more personalized.

JetBlue is so invested in digital innovation that Sundaram is also head of JetBlue’s venture arm, JetBlue Technology Ventures. He is one of a new breed of CIOs not simply responsible for digital, but also for innovation, and this is the very intersection at which digital transformation lives.