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5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

Written by lindach

Jun 10, 2020

10/06/2020

These Innovations have been necessitated and/or have thrived because of several challenges which they in turn sought to address.

A lot of technological innovations have taken place over the last 10-15 years but let’s zero in on the three most notable ones that I believe have impacted the business environment more as we know it today, which innovations have also been the major bedrock or drivers upon which many other innovations have been built upon.

The first is artificial intelligence which refers to computers that use algorithms to perform Intelligent decisions, reasoning and problem-solving faster and sometimes better than humans.

The second is machine and deep learning and these access data and learns it to help build better understanding and make sense of that data.

The third innovation is automation. Automation basically entails integrating certain rules in your processes that will trigger certain actions if the rules are met or not met. This allows certain processes to run unsupervised once the rules and triggers etc have been defined and the automation has been enabled to run.

 

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These Innovations have been necessitated and/or have thrived because of several challenges which they in turn sought to address. The first is the amount of data that businesses and consumers are generating and receiving and need to process daily. Other innovations that are embedded with the aforementioned innovations and have capabilities to solve real business and consumer needs have sprouted up, leading to a much faster pace of life such that the old manual, much slower approach does not find space in the current order of work and life. Consumers are also demanding more seamless shopping experiences whether online or in-store, have a proliferation of choices such that brand loyalty has become an expensive commodity, their interactions in and around their homes, work and places of leisure and play are inundated with almost frictionless and sometimes virtual experiences, it is impossible to take them to the old world they used to know. The more consumers get exposed, the more they want. These demands by consumers have made the business landscape more complex. On top of that we also have businesses who use these innovations to drive competitiveness, cut costs, simplify work for their staff and interactions and experiences with other stakeholders, the earlier adopters, now even going as far as demanding that their suppliers and customers also implement such technologies in their processes to be able to do business with them. And this is the trend that business is following such that businesses that ignore these developments do so to their own detriment.

The second complexity that has been in existence for a while now is globalisation. While globalisation provides businesses with larger marketplaces and consumers with more purchasing options, it presents businesses with even more challenges of handling huge amounts of unprocessed data from various sources that is difficult to process and make use of without the aid of more sophisticated tools. Meanwhile, consumers are being inundated with information on the internet offering them multiple purchasing options. It therefore becomes key for businesses to have real consumer intelligence so they can properly position their offers.

The third source of complexity is increased regulation as governments and regulators also try to deal with the explosion of information and data and put in place regulations that protect consumers, reduce fraud, tax evasion and other vices.

From the above we find that the business environment was already complex, very complex indeed even before covid-19 came into play, hence a saying by Accenture that “ This presents an opportunity—and a need—for many companies to build the competences they wish they’d invested in before: to be more digital, data-driven”.

So clearly organizations need to go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategies to handle the new landscape that they find themselves in It cannot be business as usual.

 

The following are the 5 key components of any digital strategy that organisations can follow.

 

People

By people we refer to customers, its employees and other stakeholders that include partners, suppliers, government, shareholders and directors. When an organisation looks at its people it needs to start by looking at its customers because they are the ones that the organisation exists to serve. It needs to explore their customers’ needs and how the customers want to be provided with more pleasing and uncomplicated experiences and interactions with their brand. Then it needs to look at how to simplify work so their employees by clearly defining what each of their staff does and release them from repetitive mundane that can be performed by machines and computers better. The organisation can then turn to other stakeholders and look at what they can deliver to preserve and enhance the value for the other stakeholders like seamless connectivity of systems, corporate governance, improvement of compliance and transparency for the organisation and its processes.

Processes

Businesses can look into how their processes can be reengineered to empower their employees to deliver the work they do, and how they integrate their work with each other, partners, suppliers, government and other stakeholders. It also needs to explore how their brand’s cues are perceived. Are they perceived as being authentic, consistent and compelling? Can users interact with them with ease and delight

Products

Products and services may need to be redesigned depending on their current life cycle and in view of the innovations that we discussed earlier so they are competitive and relevant in the post covid-19 era. If they are still relevant they would then need to be taken through the next examination.

Channels

The next step is to look at the channels that the products and services will be delivered through to reach the target customers. Choice of channels may still include brick and mortar, websites, ecommerce sites, social media like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, branded apps and other upcoming channels like Tik-Tok and Reddit.

Technology Platforms

Once a business has going through the above 4, it is ready to review and to determine the platforms and tools that it needs to service the four variables that we mentioned above. The thing to remember is that the tools are not the drivers of strategy and that they must align with the goals of the business. Platforms that may be considered include cloud servers, content management systems, data analytics platforms, augmented, virtual and mixed reality platforms, mobile apps, payment platforms etc.

"So clearly organizations need to go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategies to handle the new landscape that they find themselves in It cannot be business as usual. !"

– Anonymous

" This presents an opportunity—and a need—for many companies to build the competences they wish they’d invested in before: to be more digital, data-driven."

– Accenture

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5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

The times that we are in currently are unprecedented and require businesses to reimagine the way they operate. I’m sure you have heard this often enough ‘it cannot be business as usual’. There are fearss of some businesses not making it through this time and many businesses are revisiting their models and strategies to reposition themselves. Yet it is not all gloom and doom.

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

The times that we are in currently are unprecedented and require businesses to reimagine the way they operate. I’m sure you have heard this often enough ‘it cannot be business as usual’. There are fearss of some businesses not making it through this time and many businesses are revisiting their models and strategies to reposition themselves. Yet it is not all gloom and doom.

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The 3Ds of The Digital Space

The 3Ds of The Digital Space

Removing the confusion that paralyses

The words or phrases digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation have become very widely used, and sometimes interchangeably. But do they really mean the same? Well our starting point would be to explore the various definitions of the three and what people understand from them when they hear or use these words. The objective is to bring some light to the concepts that many are currently using loosely and in the process bringing confusion to their audiences when approaching digital strategies.

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies in an organisation’s processes, models, cultures, competencies and customer experiences across all levels and functions in order to improve efficiencies and effectiveness to better meet the changing business, stakeholder and customer requirements. At the organisational level it involves a shift in culture and approach to the way they do things and its ability to keep changing as needed and inevitably entails monetary and other investments at both the individual as well as organisational levels. It is also about taking risks, upskilling existing talent for adaptation as well as recruiting the best talent in order to meet the technological use requirements that drive the efficiencies and optimisation. At the individual level it calls for commitment and  investment in time and learning, and last but not least a shift in one’s mindset and how one perceives issues around their work and their role in the bigger scheme of things. Individuals and organisations that don’t measure up to the demands of digital transformation may unfortunately find themselves by the wayside.

The form that digital transformation takes can include:

  • Changes to internal processes that free up the employees’ time so it can be spent on other tasks that benefit the customer and impact productivity more positively
  • Automating things like learning, performance management and tracking employee time off
  • Installing tools that allow employees to communicate with each other within the company and outside from wherever they are.
  • Changes to how a customer and other stakeholders interact with your business

Digitisation on the other hand is the process of turning paper information into electronic information and this may be accompanied by automation. However, digitisation and digital transformation have been erroneously used interchangeably as mentioned earlier. In fact, digitisation must precede digital transformation and the two are not equal.

Digital transformation cuts across sectors but it is more prevalent and pronounced in business and the impact thereof more significant than in the public sector for example. There are a number of technologies that are driving digital transformation and these include Big Data, IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence among others and these impact the behaviour of consumers as well as how businesses and other types of organisations carry out their work processes and interact with each other. The end goals of an organisation ultimately should influence how its digital transformation agenda unfolds and at the core of that agenda should be its people and strategy.

Digitisation on the other hand is the process of turning paper information into electronic information and this may be accompanied by automation. However, digitisation and digital transformation have been erroneously used interchangeably as mentioned earlier. In fact, digitisation must precede digital transformation and the two are not equal. We have all experienced government processes where we are required to fill in papers where the filing is manual and papers get lost and the frustrations associated with such processes. Digitisation would refer to the process of turning all that manual paperwork described above into computer driven processes like completing an online form and having the information stored in resident servers or in the cloud.

The third concept we are going to look at is digitalisation and this has also been used interchangeably with both digitisation and digital transformation, and this is where the confusion gets interesting.  Oxford and Wikipedia both define digitalisation as the conversion of information that is in the form of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer. This definition is similar to the definition of digitisation above, while other authorities describe digitalisation as the reorganisation of life and its processes around digital technologies and infrastructures like digital communication and media infrastructures. This school of thought approaches the definition from the consumer angle and how technologies have been integrated into day to day life of the consumer of services. Yet others approach the digitalisation concept from the business angle and define it as the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities, while yet others include in the definition the use of digital technologies and information to transform business operations. What is apparent from the various definitions is that digitalisation is a multi-faceted concept.

In conclusion, we have seen from the above that digitisation is not the same as digitalisation and digital transformation. Digitalisation is best referred to as the reorganisation of life around digital technologies and the use of digital technologies by businesses to enhance their external and internal end users’ experiences and reorganisation of life around these technologies. The state that is attained thereafter is known as digitalised or as having been digitalised. Digital transformation on the other hand is best described as the actual journey of moving from analogue or being digitised to being digitalised. For best outcomes, it is therefore essential to understand the meanings of the various concepts in order to intelligently navigate the digital applications space and come up with appropriate strategies and end goals. It is also essential that the audiences of one’s communication understand the definitions attached to the concepts and how they are being used, especially when crafting and implementing digital strategies within an organisation.

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