Digital transformation is not likely to come easily for most CIOs. When the CEO and the board call you in to ask, \u201cHow are you going to contribute to our growth and transformation?\u201d you don\u2019t want to have to hesitate and talk about how most of your budget is going to keep the lights on and the growing maintenance costs for your ERP system.\nR \u201cRay\u201d Wang, author of the best-selling Disrupting Digital Business, offers up five critical success factors to digital transformation in a recent issue of his A Software Insider\u2019s Point of View blog.\nNumber 1 on his list is to craft a \u201ccultural renaissance,\u201d starting from the top down. \u201cSuccessful organizations drive digital transformation from the board level on down,\u201d says Wang. He adds that \u201cOrganizations that have mastered digital transformation build a continuous pipeline of innovation and a deep bench of execution.\u201d\nNumber 2 is to start with design thinking and unlocking \u201csolutions to questions that never would have been asked.\u201d\nNumber 4 on Wang\u2019s list is to apply a \u201cform follows function approach\u201d to tech adoption, and Number 5 is to institutionalize and incentivize the \u201cconcept to commercialization\u201d process to avoid taking the safe path.\nMaking the commitment\nI skipped over Number 3 because that\u2019s what I want to emphasize: \u201ccommit to business model disruption.\u201d According to Wang, \u201cIn this post-sale, on-demand, attention economy, digital transformation is more than a technology shift, it\u2019s about transforming business models and how organizations and brands engage.\u201d\nOne operating model more and more IT organizations are looking at is to balance between funding core aspects of the business versus investing in the new business and technology innovations needed to compete in today\u2019s dynamic environment.\u00a0 How can you fully commit to looking seriously at transformation if, like many, you\u2019re spending an estimated 89% of your budget just to ensure that your existing ERP or other critical systems of record are functioning smoothly? Every dollar you spend on maintenance and support of existing infrastructure is a dollar that you can\u2019t spend on disruption and innovation.\nVendors maximize revenue, minimize satisfaction\nMost enterprises are paying steep fees for maintenance of critical systems and the forced upgrades needed to stay on current release with their vendors. In the meantime, those vendors you rely on are freeing up resources\u2014and talent\u2014to invest in new cloud technologies to stay competitive themselves. That means the quality and consistency of what they provide in supporting your current environment\u2014let alone the true business value in continued, often forced upgrades\u2014are most likely suffering.\nMeanwhile, their business models call for charging you additionally for these new cloud products. You have to ask yourself: How can we limit our exposure? Is this a model that serves our business needs or is it ripe for disruption? What are our options?\nAccording to IDC, in 2017 global organizations will spend $1.2 trillion on digital transformation. CIOs are going to be walking a tightrope as digital transformation unfolds, finding a balance between managing essential legacy systems while shifting funds to digital systems of engagement.\nYou\u2019ve got to exhibit what Wang calls the \u201cdigital DNA\u201d critical to the success of the business.