Like everyone of us, I’ve been exposed to digital disruption throughout my career and even 15 years ago, when no one talked about digital disruption yet, let alone knew what it was, it was impacting every minute little detail of our work and the businesses around us. Digital technology has continued to change the companies I’ve worked with ever since. Some to the better, and some to the worse.
I noticed that the main challenge businesses faced was the lack of a strategy on how to succeed in the digital realm. There was, and there still is, a massive opportunity for businesses today to create a competitive advantage through digital transformation. Yet, most companies have no clear strategy around this subject and mainly rely on ready made technologies and software to tackle their digital transformation needs.
The truth is, creating a bespoke digital strategy is not as complicated as it may seem, thus writing a book on digital strategy made a lot of sense.
Overall there are a couple of key factors that can help you decide whether you are on a path of digital success:
Knowing where you are
What is the digital maturity of your business? Where do you stand in the digital landscape compared to your competitors? How can you improve your digital efficiency?
This is the focus of any digital strategy; to evaluate your current ecosystem and to create a plan to improve each of the assets that contribute to your digital success. But it’s not only about success. It’s about aligning your efforts to your overall business objectives and setting up the right key performance indicators and measurement plans to get a return on your investment.
Ability to measure
How do you know your digital investments make business sense? How do you measure success and failure? How do you know when to retire a system, rebuild it or invest further to improve it. Your digital strategy will allow you to get a deep understanding of every component that makes up your entire digital solution. You will see how each asset contributes to your bottom line through cost savings, efficiency or sales. Based on this knowledge you will be able to wisely place your investments in the right pockets.
Ability to take action
This is one of the most important, yet totally misunderstood tasks of any digital strategy. You need to create a plan that allows you to take action as quickly as possible. Most companies have the numbers, but not many have a plan on how to take the right action when the numbers change. You know your sales have dropped, but do you know why? Do you know how to drill down into each channel, find the issue and have a plan “ready” to make adjustments? This is what is called a measurement plan, and it is one of the most crucial parts of any digital strategy. It’s not just about the measurement itself, but the action-plan you have available when the numbers change that will make the difference for your business.
Understanding the concept of digital disruption and innovation
Are you intimidated by startups, by the billion dollar valuations and all the hype around digital disruption? You have already been running a successful business for years, but scared some school kid is coming your way about to snatch your lunch? Are you losing the recruitment battle and are unable to attract the right talent to match your digital aspirations? The truth is that most established businesses that are operating today have vast experience, data and background in their industry, yet they fail to innovate and disrupt their own industry digitally. Businesses that understand how to innovate can gain a massive competitive edge today. Innovation sounds like a hard thing to do, but is it really that tough to innovate or do you only need to have a plan that takes you from A-I, I for Innovation?
Today everyone is talking about digital disruption, but what does it really mean? Yes, it’s about amazing startups, it’s about new technology, it’s about the tech news we read everyday, but even more importantly, it’s about you. What does it mean to “you”? Every business today is affected by digital disruption, some more - some less. The opportunity however is there for everyone to leverage technology to improve efficiency, processes, customer satisfaction and more.
The reason why companies are struggling to make this shift is the lack of experience, resources, time and sometimes investment. The fact is, technology has become more accessible and affordable for everyone and what most businesses really need is a guide on how to get from point A to point B as efficient as possible. In other words, you need a strategy.
It is a common misconception that creating a digital strategy is a one time effort. That’s far from true. It’s about creating a continuous improvement program that allows your company to become better and master digital over time.
You need to have an implementation plan that allows you to react to changes in your marketing, industry and competition. You need to be able to measure your digital efforts beyond Google Analytics. You require a deep measurement plan that is tied to your KPIs and business objectives. A plan that is easy to implement, but complex enough to give you actionable information that adds value to your business.
While most companies work with consultants and partners to define their digital future it is important to have the inside knowledge to evaluate if you’ve been sold a real plan on how to transform your business, or if you’ve just been sold a million dollar system that will do nothing for you but cost more money over time.
My book Digital Strategy: a guide to digital business transformation is a guide that helps you to set the digital foundation of your business and improve your overall digital offering.
It’s a guide that gives you the tools to evaluate yourself, your business, create your strategy, implement it and maintain it.
Who should read this book?
The book is written for everyone who is interested in digital disruption and business transformation. If you are a digital strategist, a business owner or just interested in the topic itself, it will give you a jumpstart to evaluate the digital ecosystem of your business through checklists, charts, and exercises. The book will also give you ideas on how you can become an innovation house and disrupt your own industry. Innovation, in fact, is not difficult; it just needs persistence.
So what’s in the book?
The book is a ”How to” guide and focuses on the below key topics.
Learn from past digital disruptions
As a quick introduction, the book peeks retrospectively on disruptors from the early nineties through to today, and takes a look into how digital has changed many industries. There is a lot of interesting content in this section that will inspire you to see things differently for your own business and leverage hidden opportunities.
Define your own digital strategy
This area will focus on what a strategy is, how to set it up, and on which areas you should focus on the most. It’s about identifying the risks and opportunity for your business and defining a plan on how to make the most out of it.
Audit your existing digital ecosystem
You only can succeed in digital if you understand where you are standing right now. This section will focus on giving you the right tools to audit your current offering. It’s the building blocks to any strategy exercise.
Plan the execution and rollout of your strategy
How do you get from point A to point B? This section will give you the tools and concepts to move faster and more efficiently towards digital excellence. We discuss how to plan and rollout your strategy tactically and focus on what is important right now for you to get results fast.
Measure your success and optimize results
Many companies measure, but not many companies know how to interpret the data. This section tackles exactly that and shows how you can create a measurement plan that really ads value to the data you collect.
Maintain your digital assets
Once you create new digital assets, you need to make sure they keep performing at their best. This section explains how to create maintenance plans and also stresses on the importance to not neglect your existing digital ecosystem.
Create a culture of change and innovation
To become a digital disruptor in your own industry you need to learn how to innovate. Once you master the concept of innovation you can take your business to new heights. This section will discuss exactly this concept.
I hope this book is of use for everyone interested in learning more about digital transformation, and how to tackle it using a simple yet efficient strategy.