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How Does a Company Implement a Digital Strategy?

Today, virtually no sector of the world economy is isolated from the effects of digital revolution. Industries have to continuously revise how they define, produce, and deliver “value” to the end-user.  The terms “experiences” and “content” are increasingly becoming ambiguous, spontaneous and confined to little screens in our hands.

Boundaries of information discretion are being pushed.  Customer requirements and methods of obtaining information are in real-time. This is changing traditional concepts of a chain of command, a span of control, decision making, and organizational culture.

But with revolutionary changes to business, few take the time to formulate strategies that put “digital” innovation at the center of the value chain. This is due to lack of clarity on what the term implies.  There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution which exists in the market. Each business is unique, with unique challenges and resources. So what considerations are required for implementing a digital strategy?

The Meaning of “Digital”

Can going from paper-based forms to computerized spreadsheets be called a “digital” upgrade? What about going from computerized spreadsheets to complex software that predicts and manages optimum product inventory at your warehouse? “Digital on steroids”?

The very first challenge for your business is to find common ground on what digital really means.  How does it affect your business according to the complexity of your organization? As one leading global management consulting firm puts it, “digital should be seen less as a ‘thing’ and more a way of doing things.” Essentially we should not treat the presence of digital devices in the company as a sign of innovation.  Rather, innovation should result from a complete shift in end-to-end processes that leverage cutting-edge digital practices.

Consumer’s Attention vs Internal Process Refinement

Social media accounts, responsive web design, mobile friendly experience, light-weight applications, and industry-leading content material. These are some novel things a new company sets up without a second thought. The reasons are simple; that’s where customers are and that’s what they want! But is securing avenues of your customer’s attention the goal? Or streamlining their experience with your company, no matter which path they choose to access you from?

How does your customer interact with your brand – mobile device, laptop, or in person? How do you collect customer feedback to create comprehensive data points? Are meaningful insights extracted? And intelligent decisions made? The questions get more complex the deeper as you go.  These questions tie neatly with the final point.

Your Digital Strategy – Define and Execute!

Strategy implementation has some distinct components: define, execute, integration, objectives, outcomes and review.  The digital strategy is no different.   Once defined, how does it relate to your business?  Do you really have an understanding of your purpose? Who is your target market? And are the digital tools in your ‘tech cache’ effective?  And will they integrate with your existing infrastructure?

Key people, process definition and IT infrastructure assist implementation.  Implementation needs care and attention.  You need to ‘read the play’ and ensure the digital strategy aligns with your business goals.

Revise Your Business Model and Be Agile

Nobody knows your business better than you. Companies working in the same industry can have vastly different approaches to how they perceive value.  Also consider the channels used to deliver value. Disruption caused by technological and digital advancement is forcing traditional business models to shift.  This is happening at unprecedented rates! Pharmaceutical companies are trying to connect and sell directly to customers. Drug stores are trying to become clinics. Car manufacturers are becoming holistic transportation service providers. And the potential of Internet of Things and Wearable devices are being tapped.

It’s a time where established players, coupled with expert niche service providers are continuously transforming how businesses operate.  This extends to how they communicate with their audiences. Your business should endeavor for nothing less. And to thrive in such a market, not only do you require an agile business model, but the right talent that is experienced in handling and forecasting digital trends.  This can help you navigate through today’s unpredictable (digital) economy.

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