Advancements in Technology don't guarantee digital transformation, but the right strategy does!
Contrary to what budding entrepreneurs and app developers think, Digital success isn’t all associated with technology. According to the findings from the 2015 Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, strategy plays a greater role in driving digital transformation and NOT technology. Well, of course, technology is an essential mean to this transformation, but it isn’t the end. Strategy integration, the right way can transform businesses and how they work. Businesses committed to digital progress, must distribute their attention on talent retention and take more risks. Having said that risk-taking must precede an elaborate SWOT analysis of the component that you’re betting on. For example, emerging technologies like AI, AR/VR, robotics might be getting a lot of hype on the news platforms, it's not a plausible risk to jump into anything unknown if your infrastructure isn’t mature enough. Blockchain, however, is a technology that can’t be ignored at the given time.
The strength of digital technologies - mobile, social media, analytics and cloud stems from the integration of your digital strategy and how its integrated into the businesses. It can be nascent, developing and maturing, for there’s no strategy that’s fully matured. Each stage comes with its own problems: Nascent strategy battles with lack of direction, overflowing priorities and a deficiency of management skills. While the second level also battles with excessive priorities and lack of strategy, technical limitations crop up as the biggest issue. As for the more developed strategies, excessive priorities, security concerns, and insufficient technology skills seem to be the key challenges. The reason why businesses with more developed digital maturity skills reflect a clearer digital strategy than others is because these organizations show a more risk-taking and collaborative culture. These businesses take leadership on priority levels to employ digital transformation in revamping their businesses.
If you’re one of the early strategists, your priorities have to be different than businesses with a more matured digital strategy. Early buds need more transformative objectives like improved user engagement, better business decision making, more organized workload distribution etc.
Skill development, for instance, is always seen as a higher priority in businesses with maturing digital strategies as opposed to the early strategists. As a result, many enterprises at early stages lack the conceptual understanding of how digital transformation can direct their business.
If your current efforts towards digital transformation aren’t giving you the desired result, maybe technological advancement isn’t the answer and you must change your focus areas. Start by rethinking about your business and commerce and take a step back to see the bigger picture. If you’re looking for new solutions, you must score new capabilities. The methods can vary from redistributing talent engagement, empowering the same with new skills and solutions and offering a greater focus on employees who are less digitally mature. This will enable your employees to foster digital initiatives and instead of following what’s trending, they can create new digital trends for the social platform.
Most experts in technology sectors and successful entrepreneurs know one of the secrets to digital transformation. It's time you know it too. Culture drives digital transformation. Technology is incapable of driving change on it own unless culture assigns legitimacy to the change. Impatience is the mother of Innovation. If you can offer a solution or meet a need that the users are impatient, your business is more likely to succeed. To drive your business’s digital strategy according to the trending and relevant digital trends, more than one or few tech-savvy workers, the leadership must be aware of the reigning digital trends.
Speaking of digital trends, you as a business leader play a prime role in influencing them with online and offline leadership. You must drive a strong leadership in physical, virtual and augmented worlds. While engaging the community via mobile apps like Twitter and other social media platforms is crucial, you must also be able to deliver motivational power-ups addressed to a crowd of 100 people. Not to forget, a good digital strategist doesn’t limit herself/himself to digital realm alone and toggles between both the world every day.
In the beginning of the article, I differentiated between the maturity levels of a business’s digital strategy and by now, you must know which stage you’re at, but how are companies at different maturity levels employing digital strategies like mobile app engagement, talent- engagement, strong leadership, digital trends etc.? Companies at an early stage of digital maturity have different barriers than the developing and maturing ones. They suffer from a deficient strategy while developing ones struggle with distraction and maturing with the security focus.
The reasons for these differences lie in companies’ strategies. Early adopters are customer and productivity driven, developing ones are caught in a growing vision while maturing ones are targeting a transformative vision. This enables the maturing ones to adopt an integrative and innovative culture, developing ones stick with integrating, while the early strategies suffer from a soiled culture. Like I mentioned before, digital trends need a strong talent development and as you can guess by now; Early adopters show a tepid interest in talent development, whereas developing companies are time and again investing, while maturing companies show a committed interest in their talent development and engagement. Naturally, this reflects the level of leadership, companies are experiencing. Maturing ones reflect a sophisticated leadership, those who are developing show a learning one and the early strategist lacks the required skills to guide its business towards a digital transformation.
Now that you understand the problem, what solutions can you adopt to grow your business and drive digital transformation? The two most important tools to create an effective strategy for digital transformation are Digital Ideation and Enablement. The former answers your questions- what you need to do and why you need to do it, while the latter tells you where you can adopt these measures and how to implement them.
Digital Ideation: Make your digital strategy a design-led strategy, roadmap your digital transformation, execute a platform and tool analysis, focus on custom/employee engagement, strengthen your business case development and adopt a visionary and innovative leadership aka promoting risk-taking.
Enablement: Digital maturity needs cultivation and vision as internal obstacles are often the biggest hurdle in the digital growth of a business. In order to dial your strategy to a maturing level, revamp your digital architecture, bring your own device to the market, map out a few areas of excellence and strive towards them while you challenge your securities and risk activities. As for the overall business model, businesses must refurbish their mobile app engagement, integrate a strong digital strategy with more agile adoption.
To remind you once again, the best of businesses fall behind if they lack a daring vision to fuel them. Blockbuster, RIM (Blackberry) and Sears are some of the prime enterprises that failed to retain their success due to a damp leadership. Apple, on the other hand, despite having competitors like Samsung, Sony and others still stand tall because its leadership sells vision before technology. The simple reason being that in today’s digital age, consumers with hundreds of technologies to choose from, crave an inspiration, a vision, a movement they can be a part of. If you can offer a vision that they are proud to participate in, your digital transformation is on auto-mode.
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