I've read many articles on “transformation.” Older articles seemed to suggest that transformation implied a major change — rather like business process reengineering. Recently, however, transformation has become popular and everyone now seems free to use it as the equilivent for process change.
This month I asked www.bptrends.com readers for their take on the meaning of “transformation” Half way through the month, only 16 have responded. At this point, 19% suggest transformation = process change. 13% suggest that transformation = process redesign of a major business process, and 63% say that transformation is a major change in how the organization operates. On the basis of this I'd say that the term still holds on to its original use for at least a majority of our readers.
On the other hand, given how insidious the media is and how many will write articles claiming that they too are doing transformation, its hard to imagine the term will hold on to this narrow meaning for much longer.