A CDO’s end-to-end alphabet of digital business transformation

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I’ve been working in the field of digital and business transformation for about 20 years now and even after all this time, I often come across concepts and terms that are tough to understand, let alone explain. No wonder: after all digital business transformation can be complex, often highly technical, and intricately linked to wider, bigger-picture concepts and evolving trends.

So, in the spirit of helping us all wade through the jargon, I’ve put together a non-exhaustive and slightly tongue-in-cheek – but hopefully helpful – list of keywords and terms that are on my mind this summer. I hope you enjoy it!

Zero net

Well, actually, it’s “net zero,” referring to the greenhouse gas emissions that are such a large driver of climate change. But the concept is so important I decided to start this list with it – and with a bold statement: there can be no transition to net zero without digital transformation. The former is an imperative to tackling climate change. The latter is about leveraging technology and data to achieve greater energy efficiency – which is one key way to get to net zero.

Y Gen

So-called Millennials; this group represents a large portion of our customers; the ones who were born in the digital era and were raised with digital solutions – and very often consider them as essential to everyday life. Just imagine that future generations will take things like generative AI for granted! 


Oranything as a service”; data, platform, software. This is an important part of our digital vision at Schneider Electric and great opportunity to accelerate new business models, scale digital services, and transform industries.


The way that the meaning of this word has changed for many of us in recent years is emblematic of the pace of digital transformation. Still, one thing that hasn’t changed for us is that we want it to be safe and enjoyable for our employees.  


Immersive Virtual Reality can and will increasingly be used to get work done digitally, remotely, faster, and with data-based insights right in front of our eyes. As the technology matures, it can be a valuable element of industrial settings. However, there is much more to the metaverse than virtual reality, especially in enterprise, industrial applications.

Use case

A scenario for using technology to generate value. Selecting the right ones and scaling them is the key to success in digital transformation. From a digital leader’s perspective, it requires discipline and sometimes saying “no” to potentially interesting ideas.


One of my passions and paradoxically, not the priority to be successful in digital transformation (see U. above). I’m always enthusiastic about new technologies – but the ones that particularly fascinate me are those that can scale quickly (see S. below).


A key theme for me and my team. Digital transformation at scale means value delivery for our customers, partners, and our company.


Return on Investment or king in French. Digital solutions aren’t always cheap to implement. But they can offer big productivity gains, fuel new innovations, and make businesses more sustainable and resilient for the future, and for future generations. In other words, they can be the King of ROI.


A clear commitment to one of the core pillars of trust at Schneider. In today’s world, quality depends increasingly on data analytics and advanced digital tools to enable a “a zero-defect mindset” from design to execution and maintenance.


To me, it’s a converged and standardized backbone of digital solutions and experiences for customers and developers alike. In the sense of IoT and digital transformation, a platform needs to be…  


Enabling co-innovation with an ecosystem of partners and end-users thanks to data access through APIs.


Net Satisfaction Score; added here as an important reminder that everything we do in digital transformation must result in a seamless digital experience for our customers. They expect everything to work smoothly and intuitively at every stage of their journey.

Machine Learning

Or ML, which is part of artificial intelligence (AI). While some people worry that AI may replace humans in many jobs, this is not on the cards, in my mind. ML was invented in the 1950s, and it seems like machines are still not quite there.


Keep it Simple and Stupid; an old principle in programming and systems design, advocating for the removal of unnecessary complexity. Applies also to business processes in the context of digital business transformation.

Joseph Schneider

Born in 1805, industrialist and politician, one of the founders of Schneider Electric. What does he have to do with digital transformation? Well, “Jo”, the AI-enabled virtual assistant used by employees at Schneider was named after him.


While term Internet of Things isn’t new anymore, it really needs to be on this list, because it’s become the foundational set of technologies (connectivity, communication, storage, etc.) that enable the data economy, business transformation, and the energy transition.


Important word to describe a digital platform in my dictionary. It means that a platform is build and scaled to provide common services and tools to solve challenges across different industries, creating a simple, standardized user experience.   


A promising wireless connectivity technology making its way into industrial applications, promising high data throughput and reliability. There’s no doubt that 5G can do a lot, but what are the best use cases for it? 


More electric and sustainable.

Enterprise IT

A shout-out to the internal organization that’s not only keeping the businesses running, but also a true digital partner that keeps the businesses running in the right direction, faster than ever.

Data Hub

A single, unified “source of truth” converging process, energy, and carbon data. It brings together all data sources powering innovative applications and Artificial Intelligence. It is a key element of our vision at Schneider and AVEVA.


Always top of mind in the digital transformation journey.

Business process

Where digital transformation meets reality and can make a very big difference for efficiency. Together, we can transform how businesses operate through technology – and no, not by just giving them new tools.


The hottest keyword in this list today. To me, AI is an incredibly powerful ally in the digital business transformation towards efficiency and sustainability. Yet, it needs the right data and use cases to make a true difference.

End to end digital business transformation alphabet blog

We made it to the end!

I hope after reading this blog, you see the difference between some of the buzzwords and the true importance of the topic. Digital transformation is changing the world we now live in. It can truly bring us closer more resilient, smarter business operations and more sustainable outcomes in the fight against climate change.

What would be your version of this alphabet? Let me know!

Connect with me on LinkedIn to share more ideas. Visit se.com/ai to start collaborating and transforming your business with our AI solutions!

AI at scale at Schneider Electric, se.com/ai

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