Certainly, the first departments to be involved are Marketing and Information Technology (IT). Their goal will be to enhance and promote the company through digital channels. In addition, they will be evaluating performance, customer satisfaction, and communicating the value of innovations to customers.
Digital strategy: five steps to be competitive
In the age of Digital Transformation, we are seeing a proliferation of new technologies and innovative solutions that challenge our ability to adapt. Companies must adapt to change if they are to play their part in a competitive marketplace. In fact, if my direct competitor invests in technology solutions and gains a significant competitive advantage, as a business owner, I can’t sit back and watch. So how do I get on the digital transformation train? With a proper digital strategy.
When working as a consultant, it’s common to find small businesses trying to ignore the digital change taking place. The reason is simple: they’re afraid of losing control of the processes they’ve managed a certain way for years. It’s clear that the digitization of companies is no longer a competitive advantage, but an essential change to be projected into the future. Therefore, you start to think about how to approach it and you come to an important realization: “We need a digital strategy”. Usually, in these cases, all eyes point to the marketing and communications department. We’ll see that in this process it’s not just marketing that needs to act, but there are many other areas involved in the strategic definition.
What is a Digital strategy and when does it become essential?
The Digital Strategy involves defining a new vision, mission and goals geared toward responding to external digital changes. Initially, it will be drafted by executives and will serve to bridge the gap between the company from its competitors. The same ones who have already embarked on the journey towards Digital Transformation. Subsequently, all departments will be involved in the change management phase: the marketing department, the commercial department, finance and human resources. After that, all employees will be involved. A legitimate question in any change: “What about all the value I’ve generated so far?” The experience gained over the years on business processes and dynamics will be the basis on which the guidelines of the digital strategy will be defined.
Digitization is just a new language that makes what has always been done more efficient and effective. The goal is to get everyone to adopt a digital approach, a sort of common language that the “digital” employee will need to understand in order to align with strategic decisions.
The infographic posted on Meltmedia’s blog shows how important it is to have a digital strategy that connects and reflects across all business departments.
BENCHMARKING STARTS YOU OFF IN A STRONG POSITION
Another essential result of the benchmarking process is that it can assist in providing a clear understanding of how well a businesses current systems and positioning are working. Before you introduce digital innovations, it’s imperative that you distinguish between aspects of your company that are weak because they lack effective digital solutions, and those in which existing problems are the result of non-technological issues. For example, if customer service is falling short, addressing hiring and training practices before adding new digital solutions, such as automated chat could be a solution.
The foundational layer of digital strategy is your basic business model. A business’s use of digital can’t be examined in a separate petri dish; it’s integrated into the organic whole of how a company runs, as well as what they aspire to be. Building upwards from the basic business model, we look at:
- People: A digital strategy depends on the skills of the entire team. It doesn’t begin out in the cloud; instead, it is inseparable from the efforts of the developers, designers, marketers, strategists, content writers and so on.
- Process: Defining precisely what a businesses human capital will do and how they’ll integrate their work with one another to create a fully integrated strategy comes next.
- Platform: Only after the goals, people and processes are in place do we consider the platforms they’ll need. Again, technology is the tool, not the driver. Platforms depend on individual company goals; they can include cloud servers, content management systems, data analytic systems, mixed reality, artificial intelligence, geo-based apps and more.
- Products: Once platforms have been identified, then the individual products that make up your digital strategy are identified. These may include apps, wearables, responsive websites, IoT smart products, augmented reality experiences and more.
- Channels: Once you have your digital products, then the question is how you’ll connect those products with people. Which channels work best as delivery conduits in your strategy? These can include in-person shopping experiences, email, social media, workplace networking, intranet, websites, IoT remote connections and so on.
- Experience: It’s important to pursue and maintain a clear sense of your user experience. Are your brand’s visual cues consistent and compelling? Is your company’s voice authentic? Are you evoking a sense of ease and delight as people interact with your company?
- Customers: At the pinnacle of the digital strategy framework, it’s all about people, and not just the ones who buy your products or services — although of course they are important. An effective digital transformation also streamlines the experience of your employees, your vendors and suppliers, your partners and stakeholders.
KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT YOUR DIGITAL STRATEGY TO ACCOMPLISH
Here’s where the beauty of technology as a tool. The speed of doing business has increased in quantum leaps. It wasn’t long ago that a retailer had to have their summer styles in the pipeline while snow was still on the ground. Publishers used to need material six months in advance, before they could think about getting it out into market. Digital cuts through that, offering just-in-time manufacturing, instant A/B testing, individual RFID tagging and countless systems for direct real-time feedback. However, just because a business can do something doesn’t mean they should. Businesses only benefit from the technology that’s specifically geared to bring them closer to their own ultimate strategy, and technology has to serve as a ladder in order to achieve what the company is aspiring to be. It’s not an end in itself.
The reason digital strategy must be agile is that it’s constantly striking a balance between two very different forces as it works to integrate your basic business principles with the swiftly changing technological universe. You always want to give your customers an outstanding experience, you want your employees to feel inspired to perform at their highest level, and you need to maintain solid, reliable commitments with partners and suppliers — these goals don’t change. The methods of achieving these goals, however, and the tools that underlie those methods, evolve so swiftly that keeping up with them has become a profession of its own.
What EY-Parthenon digital strategy consulting teams can do for you
In a competitive, results-driven world, leveraging digital technology and solutions is no longer a consideration. It is a must. Not only can it help optimize your current business, it also unlocks opportunities to adapt and transform the organization for future sustainable growth.
However, success isn’t guaranteed. A reported 70% of digital initiatives fail to meet their objectives. Reasons include conflicting priorities, failure to scale, misaligned processes or KPIs and more. The EY-Parthenon digital business strategy teams, keenly aware of pitfalls, works closely with you to overcome such threats.
We have a deep and strong understanding of technology, data, cultural transformation and process change. Combined with our in-depth vision and practical sector knowledge, we will work with you to explore, design and help execute a unique digital strategy that fits your business. Enabling you to respond at scale to early signs of disruption, creating value from data and technology and establishing a new source of growth that will differentiate your business from your competitors.
Grow: creating emerging sources of revenue
Optimize: wiring the core of the business
Accelerate: leaping to create value from digital
No matter where your organization is on the digital journey, with the vast global EY network and its wide range of services, our team will support you from origination through implementation of your digital strategy.
EY-Parthenon digital strategy consulting services