Not that long ago a bank was a bank, a supermarket was the place you visited at the weekend to do your "big shop" and taxis were always just around the corner (except when you really needed one). Now they are all technology companies. Ok, you can still deposit your money and buy groceries, but technology is increasingly the thing that differentiates their service and keeps them relevant to their customers.

And it's not just these industries that have changed, nor is it limited to the private sector as out-patient care, citizen services and even rubbish collection start to get transformed. In fact, depending on your perspective, you may say that this is where digital transformation can have the most profound impact. 

Mobile apps are all around us. My daughter's day at nursery is even logged via an iPad and uploaded to the app on my phone complete with pictures showing progress against key learning and development goals. We haven't got there yet but I'm sure homework is pretty different these days too... harder to have left your homework at home when it's all being synced to the cloud!

Digital smigital…

And yet, it still seems to come slowly. One of the reasons that the phrase 'digital transformation' is viewed as passé in marketing circles is that if we're truthful how much do our personal or work lives really feel 'transformed'? There was no moment or epiphany, no point in time that shall ever more demark pre and post 'transformation'. 

If we're honest many of us feel that we're doing many of the same things, it's just our interface has changed - we're inputting and accessing the same data just on a better UI. And phrases such as business process automation, while accurate, don't exactly get us excited about what's going on. 

That initial surge of excitement has maybe started to wane, but (in my opinion) that's because we're already at the next level, the behaviour is now ingrained and, like many major shifts in cultural behaviour, there's no going back. Social media is no longer the preserve of the young, buying your groceries on your smartphone is not cutting edge, and very few people thumb through a paper road map in their car anymore (although part of me does miss the mystery of not really knowing where you'd end up). 

Think about your expectations

I was at a well known department store this weekend where I was told that I couldn't order any curtains (exciting stuff I know) because the measuring department had my measurements and they couldn't access them from the shop floor. Plus, the measuring department didn't work weekends so they'd have to call me next week (cue middle-class middle-age horror)! 

But seriously - that's a terrible experience. I have scheduled your visit to my house to measure and now you can't even access your own data when I want to order something? Oh... and if they did need to measure again they didn't have a spare appointment… for a month!

The same expectations apply to the workplace. Maybe more so with digital natives (millennials - I'm afraid you are just with the rest of us in the bucket marked 'other' now), but I'd argue that heightened expectations of a digital working experience are pretty much pervasive now. 

So where does this leave us? 

We all expect a mobile and digital experience at work and as a customer, and when we don't get it we feel let down. But the technologies are now mature; as are our expectations. Building an experience can’t be isolated and can't be a science experiment. In short it needs to be connected and it needs to feel easy... or easier at least. Technology is still a complex business. 

When I build something, I need it to be mobile. I need it to scale. And I need it to be integrated, otherwise I'm just buying myself a problem - mobility can't be a bolt on. 

This is at least how we think at Salesforce, and for the last several weeks in our webinar series we've been demonstrating just how easy it is to build smart, connected, mobile apps with Salesforce App Cloud. Out next 'Make It Mobile' webinar is ‪on Thursday December 1st at 10:00‬ UK time. Join us and find out just how easy it can be to build apps in the cloud! ‬