4 Inspiring Examples of Digital Transformation (Part 3)

We have scoured research and reports to find real life stories of digital transformation to inspire you to start or reinvigorate current efforts. Here are four great examples of successful digital transformation initiatives:

1. McDonald’s


McDonald’s has recognized a massive shift in consumer behavior and they are trying to adapt by digitally transforming their restaurant experience and company processes. For example, in 2015, McDonald’s began installing kiosks where customers can quickly customize their hamburgers. They were one of the first companies to adopt Apple Pay mobile pay and they are known to consistently look to startups for new innovative solutions, such as a company that embeds sensors into paper.

One of their more recent undertakings was for the 2015 Super Bowl football championship. McDonald’s used social media to give away products related to the commercials they aired throughout the game. It was important for McDonald’s to have the ability to respond immediately to consumers and actively monitor social media trends in real time.

This required multiple digital technologies and the reconfiguration of their internal communication and operational processes. McDonald’s created a digital newsroom with a cross-functional team that included members of the company’s marketing and legal divisions, their company’s advertising agencies, and employees of the social media technology provider.  

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The effort was a success and drew over 1.2 million retweets including high-profile celebrities such as Taylor Swift.  “The biggest takeaway was the power of integration. You can accomplish amazing things when you have all those pieces working together collectively in a holistic way” said Lainey Garcia, manager of brand public relations and engagement.

Be on the lookout for McDonald’s as they continue to focus on integrating technologies so they can be more agile, experimental and collaborative.

2. Under Armour


Under Armour wanted to become much more than an athletic apparel company when they introduced “connected fitness”— a platform to track, analyze and share personal health data right to customers’ phones. The vision was established but UA did not have the technology, requiring Under Armour to completely rethink their digital strategy.

They first acquired several technology-based fitness companies like MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and European fitness app Endomondo for $715 million. These companies provided UA with the technology and a large customer database needed to get their fitness app up and running.

This new application provides a stream of information to UA and that enables them to immediately identify fitness and health trends. For example, Under Armour, which is based in Baltimore, was able to immediately recognize a walking trend that started in Australia. This allowed them to deploy localized marketing and distribution efforts way before their competitors knew what was happening.

Connected Fitness has also created a customer experience that is tailored to each individual consumer. The average running shoe breaks down after 400 miles and running with worn shoes increases the changes of injury. Under Armour notifies their customers when they have run over 400 miles and then they offer the customer new products based on their behavior and purchase history.  This concept has been applied to other UA products like hiking boots.  “If we know someone went on seven hikes last summer, they may want to look at our new hiking shoes,” said CEO Kevin Plank.

Under Armour plans to continue their quest for developing new technologies. “We want to be known as the dashboard of all things health and fitness,” said Under Armour Chief Digital Officer Robin Thurston. The underdog organization believes their innovative technologies will provide a sustainable competitive advantage as they continue to challenge Nike and other leading fitness apparel companies.

3. McCormick & Company


McCormick & Company is a 125 year old spice company that recently realized the need to digitally transform in order to remain a market leader in the modern world. “We are just now becoming aware of what all the digital expertise can do if we are smart enough to take advantage of it” said Jerry Wolfe, Former Chief Information Officer, McCormick. 

McCormick launched FlavorPrint, an online flavor recommendation tool that visually represents consumer’s tastes. Consumers start with a 20 question quiz about eating habits and food likes and dislikes. FlavorPrint takes this data and generates personalized suggestions about recipes using algorithms.

It has been dubbed “the Netflix for food” for its ability to suggest recipes based on individual’s tastes.

FlavorPrint has been such a success that McCormick spun off into its own technology company called Vivanda led by CEO Jerry Worf, former CIO of McCormick. McCormick retains access to McCormick’s collection of food research to better tailor their products to customer’s tastes.

4. Disney


There’s a lot going on at Disney World with over 25,000 acres, 140 attractions, 36 hotels, 300 restaurants and 150,000 attendees per day. In 2011, Disney World was faced with a declining rate of customer satisfaction. That year, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger gathered the board of directors and pitched his plan for MyMagic+, a billion dollar investment aimed at improving the Disney World’s customer experience. MyMagic+ consists of a website, mobile app and wristband that allows Disney to track and analyze customer behavior so they can create a personalized and seamless Disney World experience for their customers.

With MyMagic+, customers can book and plan out their Disney World itinerary months in advance. Once they book their reservations, customers are shipped their MagicBands which have radio frequency identification chips built in. This wristband serves as a hotel room key, admission ticket, wallet and a FastPass. The wristband collects all this data for Disney’s new “vacation management system” where Disney tracks guests in real time. For example, when Disney identifies long lines they will send over Mickey Mouse to boost morale and also ping customers in line with promotions to other less crowded areas. These wristbands also let Disney characters know if it’s a child’s birthday so they can give them a unique birthday greeting.

The MyMagic+ initiative involved the training of over 70,000 employees on new technology, installing radio frequency readers on over 28,000 hotel room doors and adding scanners to the Park’s hotels, shops, and other attractions. One billion dollars later, the initiative has proven to be a success. Customer experience has been on the rise and over 90% of visitors rate the magic band as “very good” or “excellent.”

First Step Towards Digital Transformation: Data Governance

More and more companies recognize the need to keep up with today’s digital world in order to survive, but digital transformation is often seen as a daunting and complicated task. Companies feel overwhelmed and confused on where to begin.

Information governance is the first essential step for digital transformation because it establishes the framework needed to easily implement, scale and sustain digital initiatives well into the future.

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