Oct 22, 2014

Build Momentum With a Digital Business Strategy

Your company has been under enormous pressure to adapt to new technologies, and most likely has made great progress. Maybe you’ve migrated your email, file sharing and instant messaging to the cloud. Perhaps you’ve made your website mobile-friendly. Somehow, though, you still get the nagging feeling that it’s not enough. Everything else is still business as usual, things are being done as they have always been done, and your company’s digital presence is peripheral; it feels obligatory. You may have read about the nexus of forces, the Mobile, Cloud, Big Data and Social technology trends that are currently dominating the market. These “forces” are not just tech buzzwords, they are real, important and worthy of further thought and exploration. It’s tempting to see these terms and want to check them off of your list of updates you need to make within your business. It’simportant to note, however, that simply incorporating these forces in a nominal way does not always equate to using them to the best of your business’ advantage.You’re ready to take action, you’re ready to lead. Here’s a guide to show you the way:

Nexus of forces

Create a Digital Business Strategy

In order to beat your competitors to the punch and achieve an industry leadership position, you must start with a coherent digital business strategy.

A digital business strategy aligns an organization’s vision with digital initiatives in order to streamline core operations and create new revenue opportunities.

This strategy must encompass not only your company’s current goals and plans, but also a change in protocol, a change in attitude. The most important thing to remember about technology is that it is ever-evolving. New digital advancements emerge daily. In order to stay up to date, you must adopt an agile business model that makes it possible to constantly integrate new technology as it emerges. You may need to update the way your business is run: the way your product is delivered, the way you train your employees. Although the initial changes may be uncomfortable, the rewards can be great.

Map Out a Path to “Digital Monetization”

The digital economy is here to stay. In the last 20 years, we’ve seen the biggest shift in how we do business since the industrial revolution. The rules of established markets have been thrown out the window. New solutions have made it possible to reach much wider audiences, and to operate your business more seamlessly than ever before.The rules of established markets have been thrown out the window.

Often, the changes that need to be made will conflict with existing monetization. Take, for example, a company that sells paper forms. Their workforce deals with sales, designing forms, procuring the right paper, printing, and distribution of these forms. They want to make the move to digital, but they don’t want to disrupt the process, workforce and client relationships that they’ve cultivated for years. And although they are worried about the future of their business, they don’t know where to start making changes. The goal is to replace waning traditional ways of making money (selling a paper product) with new digital ways of making money. One way of tackling this problem is developing a web-based app that collects the same information, but can cut costs and minimize waste. This new solution can provide a better experience for their existing customers and open up new opportunities to expand their local client base to a global market. As you might imagine, this particular digital solution involves a transitional learning period in which employees will need to learn how to interface with new technology. The salesforce will also require an adjustment period in order to learn how to sell a different kind of product, and the clients will need training on how to use the new system. Despite these difficulties, once the change is made, the business will benefit from a decrease in overhead operating costs, an increase in operating efficiency, and new revenue opportunities.

Cultivate an Iterative Process (to Check-in Frequently / Collaborate)

The world is quickly evolving, the question is: will your company evolve with it or be left in the dust? If you have decided to take the step toward digitization, you are probably asking yourself, how do I know that I’m making the right decision? How do I know my new strategy is working? By using LEAN methodology, you will never get too far off track. Your goal will always remain in sight.

Your plan

LEAN methodology teaches us about “Pivot vs. Persist” principles. After each step of the process, it is vital to stand up, look around, check in, collaborate and determine if the changes you are making are getting you closer to your goals. If you are headed in the right direction, keep going (persist). If you are headed off-course, you must make the decision to change direction (pivot), re-orient yourself, and then try moving along a new path toward your original goal. There are many paths that can lead to a solution. With the right strategy and the correct attitude, you can make the journey as rewarding as possible, using every misstep as an opportunity to learn what will and won’t work for your business. Each company is different, and the solutions will not come overnight, but learning and adapting faster than your competitors is what will give you the ultimate advantage and allow you to set the pace of your industry.

Assemble a Digital Team

You will need to assemble a dedicated team of digital experts to help make the move from traditional to digital business practices. This team will focus on developing the best digital solutions for your business, from more efficient internal software needed to run core operations to user interface solutions that will provide customers with a more rewarding and satisfying experience.

Your organization needs to be completely focused on doing what it does best. Your new digital team- with skill sets in software engineering, mobile platforms, user experience and more- will make up another invaluable core competency within your company that will allow you to keep doing what you do, while providing the help you need to do it in a digital context.

By compiling a team of experts to help you plan, perfect and execute your digital strategy, you can translate the nexus of forces into meaningful, measurable results for your business. It is imperative to incorporate agile methodology into your digital transition, allowing you to most effectively plan out your next move by interpreting current results. If you foster an adaptable strategy, you will already be in a position to accommodate new technological advances as they arise, keeping you one step ahead of the competition. It is this ideal position of digital superiority and ultimate adaptability that all businesses should strive to achieve

Posted By Michael Merchant, CEO

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Michael Merchant

Chief Executive Officer