When Your Hear The Words “Digital Transformation” Think Corn

Posted on December 28, 2017


This is the fifth article in the Spotlight Series of posts by Canada’s top IT Executives who will be at what I consider to be a must-attend event, the Long View Systems’ #ActivateDigital2018 Conference on February 27th in Guelph, Ontario.

In today’s post, Editorial Director for Channelchiefs.ca Paolo Del Nibletto tells us why Why Corn Should be the First Word That Comes to Mind When You Hear “Digital Transformation.”


Why Corn Should Be The First Word That Comes To Mind When You Hear The Words “Digital Transformation”

The words “digital” and “transformation” have two very different meanings, but when put together, they have created a whole new reality for organizations large and small.

Digital transformation has produced a level of uncertainty and excitement unprecedented in modern history. Even though people have become comfortable with certain elements of digital transformation such as cloud computing and mobile technology, most still struggle or have no concept, of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Machine Learning, Blockchain and other forms of digital transformation.

Factor in important business workloads, processes, policies, individual skill-sets and of course the big elephant in the room – security and, more than likely, people stop listening.

But conferences like the upcoming ActivateDigital2018 in February to be held in Guelph, Ont., are vital to breaking down the complexity in each important area of the digital transformation journey for both business and government.

Events like these work towards uncovering the mystery that surrounds digital transformation. This unique conference builds a community of stakeholders for all sectors of the IT ecosystem.

The first time I heard the term cloud from an IT perspective was in late 2006 at a similar community event. Industry stakeholders were talking about cloud as a form of the utility computing concept. Back then, it was the fear of the unknown that set the entire industry spinning in all directions. Fast track to now and about 93 percent of North American business and government have some form of private, public or hybrid cloud environments.

While it took a community of stakeholders to figure out innovative ways to employ the cloud to improve worker productivity, a decade later cloud computing is as normal as pen and paper.

Digital transformation is the second wave of the cloud computing era, and while some organizations are further ahead than others, there’s still time to catch up.

Years ago, I sat through a demonstration at the Cisco Partner Summit in which there was an Internet connection to corn. That’s right, corn! At the time, I thought it was another attempt at conference humour. But what transpired next was truly astonishing: the demonstration showed tiny – almost microscopic – sensors that were placed in the soil to collect data about corn. That data was sent up to the cloud for farmers to track. From there, farmers learned when the best time was to water the corn. By using the data from those sensors, farmers could conserve water and save on operational costs.

It was the first time I heard the term Internet of Things, and it was Cisco who forecasted it would become a $19 trillion market opportunity by 2018 (just as an aside, Cisco Canada’s new President Rola Dagher will be one of the keynote speakers at #ActivateDigital2018). That’s trillion with a “T.” As we move towards 2018, it will again take a community to solve all the intricate areas of digital transformation currently puzzling most IT professionals.  That is why conferences like this one are important as it brings together the right people at the right time to not only inform but empower the market to capitalize on the promise that is digital transformation.

You can follow this series as well as other stories relating to the conference on Twitter using the hashtags  and 


Posted in: Conferences