Digital transformation reversed – the ‘4-3-2-1’ model


As a Salesforce and Heroku partner we often (and more and more) see this kind of digital transformation process :

1 – Implement an ERP system for Accounting / Inventory management, resources…

2 – Implement a CRM for a unique 360 vision of my clients

3 – Open a partner portal / create a customer community

4 – Create a customer-facing app / mobile & social apps

It might come from the software history :

1 – SAP ERP system has a 42-year history:

2 – Salesforce CRM has 15 years of innovation:

3 – Salesforce bought Instranet (founded in 1999 by Alex Dayon) and its Customer self-service Portal in 2008

4- Heroku (platform for customer facing apps – was founded in 2007 and acquired by Salesforce in 2010.

We see that digital transformation is more and more focused on the customer, 1-to-1  :

1 – Customer = a number

2 – Get a unique 360° vision of the customer

3 – Provide a new specific channel with the customers

4 – Give customers mobility



But in fact we’re seeing that digital transformation goes far beyond this.
We see amazing apps changing the world of existing businesses.
Uber is one of my favourite examples. And the process is more likely:


#4 – Create the right customer facing (Heroku) app / change the customer experience

#3 – Of course you need a backoffice (let’s say a CRM or an application platform like

#2 – Engage more and more users (use marketing automation tools / user engagement platforms)

#1 – Make money / invoice / hire / manage resources…

… get return on investment

… and improve … back to #4.

I believe this « 4321 model » can be applied to lots of businesses. Why wait for another Uber to change your industry? Let’s do it right now. Focus on a simple use case, quickly build an efficient backoffice for this, get users, measure R.O.I. … and improve. Digital transformation has become a cycle and businesses can reverse the loop.

It means constant investment to constantly evolve and improve, but it  also means a constant return on investment. Better processes, better customer experience, better ROI. And repeat.

Wherever you are in that 1-2-3-4 ‘standard’ cycle, don’t wait to start on a ‘4-3-2-1’ disruptive mode. Start now.