The global response to the COVID-19 crisis accelerated adoption of emerging digital solutions and unveiled new ways to use digital tools to collaborate, win customers and streamline business processes. And now, with an eye on the horizon, everybody’s asking the same question:

“What do we do next?”

DMI believes the answers lie along a continuum of digital-physical convergence, using the best digital innovations and technologies to improve real-world outcomes. Understanding your current position within this continuum is crucial to figuring out what to do next.

This e-book from DMI, experts in enterprise digital transformation, opens with a focus on three essential observations that encompass our approach:

  • Digital-physical convergence is here to stay.
  • The divide between B2B and B2C is disappearing.
  • Enterprises must meet customers wherever they are.

We close with a drill-down on the unique value of DMI’s approach, which has three principal phases:

  • Transition, surmounting the challenges of legacy technologies.
  • Transform, navigating the terrain of comprehensive digital-physical transformation.
  • Transcend, using next-generation technologies to invent and innovate

Read on to see how DMI’s three-phase model can help your organization thrive in the years ahead.


Before the COVID-19 crisis, companies used digital technologies and automation primarily to improve efficiency and profitability. When we all had to rearrange our businesses — and our lives — it became crystal clear that digital takes us only so far.

The new reality is that we must combine the virtual and the physical while leveraging mobile technologies that people use every day. The table below illustrates common scenarios in the three phases of DMI’s digital-physical convergence paradigm.

The changes came in a flash. Buying fresh fruit online seemed unthinkable until it became mandatory. Working from home eliminated time-wasting commutes. Buying a laptop online and picking it up curbside an hour later gave brick-and-mortar retailers an edge over online competitors.

TRANSITION A brick-and-mortar retail chain starts acquiring digital tools for adding mobile technologies and machine learning in all the channels their customers prefer.
TRANSFORM An automotive OEM upgrades its corporate backend and in-car operating systems to provide real-time travel and retail services to car owners and passengers.
TRANSCEND An online-only apparel company adds augmented reality technology to its mobile apps to help buyers envision themselves wearing the apparel.

Because the pandemic revealed better ways to get things done, it stands to reason these kinds of interactions will outlast the virus. Moreover, there will always be a physical side of digital interactions. The best customer experiences will reflect this reality.

“The brand no longer owns the buying experience — the consumer owns it. The digital and physical must converge because that’s how buyers want to buy.” — John Blackburn, DMI


Companies used to control the entire purchase process, from securing commodities to manufacturing goods to selling to the end consumer. Now the buying process is becoming disaggregated — people can purchase anywhere, anytime on a device of their choosing.

Digital technologies make this true for every kind of transaction. Thus, a conventional B2B business that sells products and services to other businesses can converge digital technologies with physical realities just as their retail counterparts do.

TRANSITION An engine manufacturer in the heavy-truck sector embraces new data services to automate marketing and optimize transactions with suppliers and purchasers.
TRANSFORM A regional commercial banking chain adapts machine learning algorithms to secure transactions with vendors and customers.
TRANSCEND A medical device manufacturer implements AI-driven technologies that connect to patients’ smartphones and deliver real-time data to healthcare providers.

These scenarios reveal the rapidly fading divide between business-to-consumer and business-to-business. Indeed, emerging digital technologies like marketing automation, machine learning and the Internet of Things essentially place most cutting-edge, customer-facing digital tools into the hands of B2B companies.

This new world has producers and consumers buying and selling to each other on all sorts of devices in a vast variety of channels. It’s not a simpler world, however: Brands must use mobile technologies and automation to ensure an orderly transaction flow between all of these buyers and sellers. And they must anticipate everybody’s needs to ensure a seamless customer experience.

“Digital-physical convergence brings everything together rather than confining engagement to silos of B2C or B2B. There is no more B2B vs. B2C. It’s B2B2C.” — Michael Deittrick, DMI


Digital-physical convergence must serve consumers who can advance their careers from the comfort of a living room couch. Dozens of channels, applications, devices and form factors give consumers the freedom to buy in any time or place that feels proper or convenient.

Thus, brands have to forget about dictating buying patterns. Instead, they should focus on using data, machine learning and other next-generation technologies to craft holistic digital-physical customer experiences.

TRANSITION A hospital chain analyzes its network capacity and electronic medical records software to add more telemedicine services to patients.
TRANSFORM A municipal government updates its backend systems and adds sensors on streetlights to improve traffic flow and upgrade mass transit services.
TRANSCEND A transportation startup uses edge computing, learning, automation, geo-referencing and augmented reality to improve the working lives of truck drivers.

Today’s consumers can buy through a laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone. Physical stores, websites and social media platforms provide buying options and marketing messages. Watches and clothing may collect data that reveals buying preferences. Connective devices throughout their homes collect even more data, all of which must be anonymized and secured.

Keeping customers satisfied means giving them what they want, when they want it, in the context of their lives. That requires the deft combination of user focus, strategic foresight and technical acumen that DMI has been delivering for three decades.

“Enterprises are still responsible for delivering these digital and physical experiences, and making sure they are seamlessly connected. But they cannot dictate the way consumers use them.”— Michael Deittrick, DMI



The challenges pile up quickly for companies in the transition phase. Whether you’re grappling with legacy technologies, technical debt or changing competitive conditions, every day of delay makes things worse.

At DMI, we believe it’s crucial to define what it means to be a business that converges the digital and physical realms. We look beyond mere technical solutions and analyze your marketplace challenges holistically to chart the wisest path forward.

We help clients master the Transition phase by asking questions such as:

  • Where are you now in your digital transformation process?
  • Which technologies should you keep, and which ones should you retire?
  • How can digital tools help you optimize your business?
  • How must your business culture change to embrace new processes and adopt new technologies?
  • What has to happen to clear your path to the Transform phase?

DMI’s experts on digital tools, user experience, learning automation, mobile development, device management and other essential skills can help you devise a sophisticated strategy for achieving outcomes such as:

  • Analyzing data to figure out how fast you can adopt new digital-physical strategies.
  • Weaving together the online and offline to craft digitally converged customer experiences.
  • Building a service layer that makes everything seamless to the buyer.

These and many more tactics do more than respond to your current needs. They lay the groundwork for moving into the Transform and Transcend phases.

“We can build out technology platforms and services models that allow the customer to travel seamlessly back and forth between the digital and physical worlds — getting information flowing outside of companies’ archaic, process-driven systems.”— John Blackburn, DMI


If you’re already progressing on a digital transformation timeline, it’s time to ensure that all of your new digital technologies are fully integrated with your buyer’s physical experience.

DMI has developed sophisticated frameworks for assessing a company’s progress toward fully digitizing their business. Once we figure out where you are now, we formulate a strategy for a comprehensive digital transformation.

Success here requires answering questions such as:

  • How can next-generation technologies improve your business conditions and competitive advantage?
  • What are your remaining in-house obstacles to digital transformation, including corporate culture and entrenched technology platforms?
  • What are your top priorities and ideal timelines for achieving transformation?
  • What are the most pressing gaps in your digital-physical customer experience?

In the Transform phase, DMI taps decades of experience in mobile development, online commerce, data science and learning automation. We can help you:

  • Deploy advanced technologies like conversational commerce, machine learning, edge computing, IoT and more.
  • Use automated business services such as device management to optimize customers’ mobile experiences.
  • Apply data and automation to place purchase behaviors in the context of the buyer’s location, preferred channel, device, previous purchases and other relevant factors that encourage closing a sale.

Digital-physical convergence recognizes what your buyer is doing now and anticipates what they want to do on every step of their purchase journey. DMI helps you make that happen.

“DMI brings to the table a unique ability to string together online and offline, digital-physical converged experiences for customers. And we’re thinking about that experience holistically and differently than other agencies do.” — John Blackburn, DMI


The Transcend phase means using the best digital tools to take your business — and your customers — to places you’ve never been before. That means inventing new ways to serve buyers, disrupt your marketplace and build a stronger competitive footing.

At DMI, we understand that nobody knows your customers better than you do. We’ll use our business and technology consulting expertise to help you understand how innovative technologies can enable business models that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago.

Success here requires answering questions such as:

  • Are you far enough along in your digital transformation journey to enter the Transcend phase?
  • Do you have the people and tools in place to enable and encourage innovative thinking?
  • How will you use data science and analytics to identify promising opportunities?

Once you’ve addressed these issues, DMI can help you:

  • Identify the technologies that drive the most value for your organization: machine learning, augmented reality, image and speech recognition, geo-referencing and real-time, on-location sensing, edge computing and new technologies soon appearing on the horizon.
  • Analyze customer behaviors and identify patterns and inefficiencies you may have missed.
  • Optimize your backend systems to take advantage of next-generation tools.

To transcend, you have to devise novel ways to serve your customers today while adapting to their ever-changing preferences as the future unfolds. It’s a daunting challenge that requires the guidance of a savvy, experienced partner. That’s DMI.

“Based on where the customer is, we can help them understand whether they’re in the Transition phase, the Transform phase or the Transcend phase — and we can meet them wherever they are.”— Michael Deittrick, DMI


Every stage of DMI’s Transition-Transform-Transcend paradigm shares a common goal: Removing friction and delivering delight in every form factor, application, device and location.

It’s an imposing challenge of immense complexity. Automating, streamlining and optimizing purchase patterns requires amassing customer data from dozens of sources. You must synthesize everything in real time in the context of the buyer’s current, real-world reality.

Creating holistic, seamless buyer experiences requires a broad spectrum of talents including business consulting, mobile application development, customer experience design, digital marketing, learning automation and online commerce. DMI mastered these skills in three decades of delivering advanced mobile solutions in every sector of the economy.

The future belongs to organizations that understand where their customers are today and where they need to be in the future. DMI stands out because we do the same for you.

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