The digital space can feel full of buzzwords, and a common one leads to this week’s question from a client, ‘What’s the difference between an IT and digital transformation?’


This is actually a really tough question because if you look up these terms, you’ll find many, many different definitions including some that will completely conflict. This is why these terms are so confusing to you too. And quite honestly, many experts tend to use the word “Digital” for everything these days because it’s currently in vogue.

Now, I’m going to give you my definition which I hope provides a little clarity.

  • For a digital transformation, it tends to be more externally focused in the way that you interact with your stakeholders whether it be a donor, member or someone you are delivering services to, specifically through the internet.
  • For an IT transformation, it tends to be more internally focused to fix underlying risks and system issues. However, it could also have digital elements which will improve your team’s processes too.

In reality, does the terminology even matter?

No! It really doesn’t.

When I do a Transformation program for a client, I usually let them decide the terminology because at the end of the day, they are the ones that need to communicate it to both their internal and external stakeholders. And if those words have specific meaning that will help them gain buy-in, I’m all for it.

So, there you have it in plain English.

If you have an IT question you want answered, feel free to connect with me here on my website or on LinkedIn and send me a message. I just might answer it on this show.

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Tammy Ven Dange is a former charity CEO, Not for Profit Board Member and IT Executive. Today she helps NFPs with strategic IT decisions, especially around investments.

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