Must-Have Technology Capabilities for Digital Transformation Mastering the Magnificent 15

Business woman touching the screen of the mechanical gear

By Stephen J. Andriole

Digital transformation is about efficiency and competitiveness. It requires a deep understanding of current and emerging business processes and models and a similar understanding of current, emerging and disruptive digital technology. There are 15 capabilities that companies must master to achieve digital transformation that include specific technologies, new business-technology management best practices and soft skillsets.



Your business is changing but your ability to respond to shifting markets, demographics and aggressive competitors is constrained probably because you’re not properly leveraging current, emerging and potentially even disruptive digital technology. So your digital transformation projects are failing – and will continue to fail until you master the “magnificent 15” technologies, best practices and soft skills described here.

If you’ve under-invested in these technologies, best practices and soft skills you will fail. Put another way, if you’ve over-invested in enterprise software development, help desk management and in-house applications support you’ve undermined digital transformation possibilities. Remember, the role of “technology” has changed forever. The chances are good that your business-technology strategy is optimised for the 20th century. But today the successful technology organisation is a management organisation, not a development organisation. It does not create. It applies, exploits and optimises.

There are at least 15 technologies, best practices and soft skills necessary to optimise the new business-technology relationship in the 21st century. The Magnificent 15 can be organised in three baskets of 5 each: (1) technologies, (2) management best practices and (3) soft skills. If you want to transform your business with current, emerging or disruptive digital technology, you need to invest in all 15.

The list below actually presents the short-list of must-have capabilities.


  1. Cloud Computing – Because Everything’s Moving to the Cloud
  2. Analytics – Because Descriptive, Explanatory & Predictive Insight is Transactional Lifeblood
  3. Digital Security – Because Digital Transformation Can Be Derailed by Data Breaches
  4. Digital Media – Because All Content is Digital, Especially Social Content
  5. Emerging Technologies – Because Your Next Disruptive Technology is Already Here


Management Best Practices:

  1. Project & Program Management – Because You Must Know How to Size, Scope & Watch
  2. Vendor Management – Because RFPs & SLAs are Now a Way of Life
  3. Digital Security Management – Because Security Vendors & Auditors are Your New Best Friends
  4. Business Analysis – Because Requirements Always Change & “the Business” is Tech’s Only Client
  5. Metrics – Because Everyone Needs to Measure – & Know – Everything


Soft Skills:

  1. Written Communications Skills – Because You Need to Write Clearly & Purposefully
  2. Verbal Communications Skills – Because They Will Listen if You’re Coherent-with-Style
  3. Collaboration Skills – Because No Techman or Techwoman is an Island
  4. Persuasion & Negotiation Skills – Because Everyone Disagrees Until Persuaded Otherwise
  5. External Presentation Skills – Because Techies Need to Be Housebroken Before Leaving the Office
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About the Author

Stephen J. Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business Technology at Villanova University where he teaches and directs applied research in digital technology management and emerging technologies. He was the Director of the Cybernetics Technology Office of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the CTO and Senior Vice President of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and CTO and Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy at Cigna CorporWation. His most recent book – Technology Adoption & Digital Transformation: How Emerging Technologies Now Enter the Enterprise – will be published in 2017 by the Taylor & Francis Group of CRC Press. He can be reached at [email protected] or through


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