You only have to look around you when you grab a coffee or catch a bus to work to see that the world is a very different place today than it was 10, 20, or 50 years ago. Technology plays an increasingly integral role in the way we work, shop, and interact with each other, and we are reliant on digital technologies. A digital strategy is a plan that enables businesses and organizations to embrace digitalization to create new opportunities, enhance performance, and discover new capabilities. Digital technologies are fast replacing alternatives, which means that digital strategies will underpin all business plans in the future. A digital strategy’s primary focus should be to outline how a business can benefit from new technologies. With sound plans in place, it’s possible to explore and benefit from the far-reaching advantages of investing in and embracing new ways of working brought about by cutting-edge digital innovations.
Why is a digital strategy important?
Every business owner should have a clear vision of where they want their company or organization to go. As technology and consumer trends and demands evolve, it’s critical to understand the importance of a digital strategy and the difference it can make moving forward. With an effective, tailored digital strategy in place, it is possible for business owners to:
- Establish specific goals and objectives and set benchmarks.
- Connect with customers on a deeper level and get to know the target audience better.
- Increase efficiency and improve ROI.
- Eliminate unnecessary, time-consuming processes.
- Achieve a seamless, smooth transition to digital technologies.
- Avoid confusion among team members.
- Provide a better service for customers and clients.
- Open new doors and expand capabilities.
- Achieve competitive advantage.
Statistics suggest that having an impactful digital strategy offers a host of benefits across a broad spectrum of sectors. Figures published by Forbes indicate that companies spent more than $2 trillion on digital transformation in 2019, with the most common benefits cited as improved efficiency (40%), reduced time to market (36%), and improved ability to match customer expectations (35%). Six out of 10 companies have produced new business models due to digital strategies, and over half of company CEOs say that digital technologies have helped increase revenues.
What does creating a digital strategy involve?
A digital strategy is not just a piece of paper or a new and improved business plan. Your business strategy should focus on how you can utilize digital technologies to improve performance and create new opportunities, outlining the direction in which you’re going to move in the future and providing more information about how you’re going to achieve key objectives. A digital strategy should be tailored to the individual organization. In most cases, a digital strategy will concentrate on either using technology to create new products or ways of working or developing existing processes to reach the next level and optimize outcomes. Digital technology covers more than new hardware and software. Today, this term encompasses a host of concepts, which have a shared ability to boost performance, increase efficiency and establish a competitive advantage. As organizations evolve and adapt to new landscapes, the digital strategy will become an increasingly influential part of the overall business strategy.
What does digital strategy mean when considering digital transformation?
You often see the terms ‘digital strategy’ and ‘digital transformation’ used in the same sentences. Although they are linked, it’s important to understand the differences between the two concepts and ideas. A digital strategy is often a key part of digital transformation, but it focuses on using technology to drive innovation and improve results. Digital transformation relates to an end-to-end process, which effectively overhauls the way a business works by targeting three principal areas: customer or user experience, operations, and business models. A digital strategy’s primary aim should be to help businesses or organizations adapt to being a digital business and harness the advantages of making this change.
How to get started with a digital strategy
There is no universal template or guide to create a tailored, targeted digital strategy. Still, it can be helpful to consider how digital technologies could change or improve your business before drawing up concrete plans. Ask yourself questions to determine how the process will impact you and what kinds of rewards you can expect to gain in the future. Good examples of questions include:
- Will digital technology enable you to add value?
- Will new technologies affect your target audience in any way? Could you expand your reach?
- Will digital technology alter the markets you are targeting or operating within?
- Will digital technologies enable you to gain an advantage over your competitors? Will you have unique capabilities or a new USP you can promote?
The key to making digital strategy work for your business lies in focusing on making changes that facilitate improvement and enable you to gain advantages over rivals. By establishing objectives from the outset and streamlining your strategy to ensure that it aligns with your goals, you can eliminate the risk of wasting time or money on resources, tools, or technology that will not benefit your company, your employees, or your customers.
Improving the chances of success
In addition to prioritizing clarity and focusing on individual targets when drawing up a digital strategy, it’s also essential to carefully manage every digital transformation element. Here are some tips to help you maximize the chances of success:
- Plan in advance
- Appoint a leader or a leadership group
- Communicate with employees and customers
- Take your time to pinpoint priorities.
- Think about the future and the scalability and flexibility of your plans
A digital strategy is a roadmap, which outlines how businesses can utilize digital technologies to modify models to optimize performance, expand capabilities and create new opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. If you’re currently working on a digital strategy, or you’re keen to keep up with your competitors and move with the times, it’s critical to understand the benefits of having an effective plan in place and ensure you know how to execute an end to end transformation and achieve the best possible results.