We IT professionals are often too close to it to see it, but if you take a step back you might notice that tech is everywhere now.\nIn 2017, many of us spend our days staring at one screen or another. We\u2019re getting used to talking to smart devices in our homes and expecting them to understand what we say. We use machines to navigate tasks like food shopping or hailing a ride that didn\u2019t used to require a layer of technology.\nThis pervasive spread of technology isn\u2019t confined to the consumer space. Nearly every layer of business has a tech interface that could make operations more streamlined and efficient.\nBut digital transformation isn\u2019t easy. A recent survey, for instance found that nine out of 10 digital transformation projects fail. A survey last year put the figure at 84 percent. Even so, companies need to pull off digital transformations to survive. In 1958, the average age of an S&P company was 61 years. Now it\u2019s 17, but the figure will fall to 12 by 2025. Here\u2019s what digital transformation is and how companies can effect it to stay ahead of this trend.\nDigital transformation is all-encompassing\nThere was a time when the IT department was cloistered away from the rest of the operations. No more. Just as technology has penetrated consumers\u2019 lives it has permeated every level of business.\nFor instance, digital transformation in sales can help find new routes to market, service existing customers faster, identify and uncover opportunities. In marketing, digital transformation ensures that businesses are capturing every source of data and finding previously unforeseen opportunities within the data.\nEven small companies have a huge amount of data because of how they transact their businesses now. Whether it\u2019s online or in-store, pretty much every transaction is a digital transaction because so few customers \u2013 just 24 percent\u00a0according to a recent Gallup survey -- use cash. Data from those transactions spills into customer service, which in turn has new accountability because data from customer transactions can be analyzed and improved. The data might show, for example, that customers are repeatedly asking for a product or service. Voila! A new business opportunity.\nIf companies aren\u2019t analyzing data for sales, marketing and customer service, then it\u2019s a good bet that new competitors are. New disruptive entrants don\u2019t form relationships with customers that are merely transactional, but are creating relationships that expand communication to pre- and post-sales and create an emotional attachment.\nThe elements of transformation\u00a0\nBusinesses that started in the last couple of years have an advantage over incumbents because they come in with a clean slate. They can make full use of new technologies without worrying about legacy systems.\nNew companies are likely to be completely cloud-based, for instance. That allows for an elastic infrastructure that lets them expand and contract as needed to use their resources as efficiently as possible. Those challengers are also more apt to integrate IoT \u2014 devices and sensors \u2014 into their operations.\nFor such new companies, IT is part of the fabric of their operations. IT used to require endless log-ons, passwords, VPNs and various other hurdles to access the environment. But cloud allows everyone at the company to access the technology in a more seamless way. While there are security risks to offering cloud-based access, there are also benefits to allowing multiple devices to access the environment. A company that can enable such access for global employees has a big advantage over one that\u2019s still providing IT access in the old, archaic fashion.\nSuch companies can also integrate outside data with their own to transform their businesses. A retailer might use weather data, for example, to figure out what kind of inventory to stock and which to highlight in store. The rewards then for digital transformation are great. Unfortunately, as surveys show, it\u2019s not so easy to pull off. The comprehensive nature of digital transformation is usually what trips up incumbent companies.\nSo what\u2019s the answer? While some companies might be able to pull off digital transformation on their own, most need an outside consultant to come in and tell them what to do. Such solutions are constantly improving too. While they may not be off-the-shelf type solutions yet, that\u2019s where the market is headed.\nThe market, in other words, will find a solution to meet the demand for digital transformation. For some companies, the solution is coming not a moment too soon because they can\u2019t put off digital transformation any longer.