Digital is no longer optional. Businesses need to infuse digital across all organisational functions to create value for their customers, employees and business partners. To do so, they need a solid understanding of how digital changes the way people do things, the specific areas that can create value for their business, and a roadmap to introduce or improve the capabilities required to realise that value. This requires excellence across 3 core capabilities.
Digital Strategy: Set Your Digital Ambitions
Businesses that have made digital their new business-as-usual do not have a separate ‘digital strategy’. Instead digital is intertwined with the company-side business strategy. It is owned at the executive board level and is a top priority for the business, understood across the wider organisation. Digital is infused across the entire business, and every part of the value chain is considered to avoid digital gaps, such as remote-first working without requiring physical critical files.
The business places their customers, employees and partners at the centre of their decision making, with a focus to delight and empower by delivering products and services based on their needs. To enable this, the executive board advocate an innovation and learn-fast culture rather than a top-down mandated strategy. Innovation is fostered encouraging everyone to be curious, to learn continuously and never to be afraid to try new things. The impact is measured across the organisation to inform when to refine and optimise and when to accelerate its scaling across the organisation.
The business is tolerant of failure when that failure arises out of an attempt to innovate and learnings are identified. Ideas are evaluated in an agile way such as building prototypes and testing them on customers or end-users to ensure their future needs are envisaged and tested to maintain a competitive edge.
Digital Threats and Opportunities: Assess The Strategic Impact
The executive board are aware of the digital threats that exist to their business model, monitoring the landscape beyond their industry sector to inform strategic and operational activities. They have a strong network of resources beyond their company and sector to surface ideas and technologies, and constantly scan the market for potential start-up activity to either compare themselves against or potentially acquire. They look to disrupt themselves by identifying opportunities and funding experiments that enable them to quickly validate potential new sources of revenues, cost reductions or new business models.
Digital Initiatives: Fundamentally Change How You Operate
A well-defined, resourced and fully costed roadmap is in place to introduce and continuously improve the digital capabilities required by the business to realise their growth strategy. The business sets, executes and adjusts the roadmap on-demand using multiple sources of data to identify unmet needs and rapidly identifying the enabling capabilities required to deliver the required outcomes.
The focus is on doing rather than planning with quick wins and lighthouse projects that quickly deliver value and insights. An appropriate decentralised mechanism and approach is in place to control progress and apply governance, enabling goals to be adjusted, resources to be added/removed and initiatives to be terminated if it becomes clear they will not succeed. This ensures that the business is undertaking sufficient strategic change to achieve core objectives and that strategic initiatives are aligned with lower-level tactical initiatives.
All initiatives have a small set of core KPIs sufficient to monitor their progress during deployment and their ultimate success or failure post-deployment.