As Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Throughout the digitization of the world as we know it, many businesses have suffered from–or even succumbed to–their lack of strategy regarding their digital transformation. From Blockbuster passing up Netflix as a potential buyout to Toys ‘R’ Us refusing to compete with big eCommerce toy sellers, time has shown again and again that companies not only need a digital strategy, but it needs to be a key focus of how they intend to succeed and grow in the current climate.
#1 Envision Your Journey
Every journey needs a plan—however rough it may be to begin with—while every plan needs some degree of imagination to kick it off. To enact a digital strategy, a business must first imagine what this new strategy impacts in the grand scheme of things. Asking questions like “how will this strategy impact company culture?” or “how will it impact customer perception?” are important in outlining a digital transformation.
#2 Think Big
With today’s challenging economic times, most would not consider 2020 or 2021 to be the best time to make sweeping changes and large investments. However, recent history has shown us that this cannot be further from the truth in the digital world. The movers and shakers of their respective markets are nearly always companies which take big risks by implementing new digital innovations regarding customer service, how their employees work, how their products are made, and more.
#3 Focus on Agility
“Agile” has become a buzzword in the business tech world for good reason. Companies that are renowned for their successful digital transformations and/or are the movers and shakers of their industry not only think big; they also act quickly. Becoming a trend-setter instead of a trend-follower is not an easy transition to make, but with the right leadership and forethought it’s possible for companies of all sizes in any vertical. After all, even the best of digital strategies are useless if they are implemented at a pace too slow to adapt, and in a manner too rigid to adjust.
#4 Create a Digital Culture
Digital leaders and the decisions that they make have become increasingly impactful as the world becomes more tech-oriented. These decisions have a ripple effect throughout the company and can change the way entire offices and individual employees work. The need for adequate “digital talent” to carry out these plans, therefore, has also become increasingly important for companies which aim to digitally transform. This could oftentimes result in a major bottleneck for businesses, as professional IT workers and developers are in high demand and low supply.
#5 Be Hands-on Throughout the Process
It is crucial to monitor your digital transformation progress throughout the entire process with the power of analytical tools. Consider the key questions that pertain to your goals and ambitions, whether it’s client-side (e.g. “how are customers responding to the changes in our digital strategy?”) or otherwise (e.g. “how are non-IT employees adapting to these changes?”).Of course, if the strategy seems to require some tweaks, don’t hesitate to do so. Even when a strategy may seem fool-proof at first, any miscalculations, technological disruptions, or market circumstances could easily impact a company’s digital transformation negatively.
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