Before considering the bits and bytes and technical details of your company’s digital transformation, consider the more complex question of strategy. What is digital strategy?
We can answer this question by first addressing the common misunderstanding of strategy. Strategy is not operational effectiveness, which covers activities a given business performs better than its competitors, nor is strategy defined by planning, which alone cannot generate revenue. No amount of forecasting or budgeting can prepare an organization for disruption, help its leadership understand the impact of digital, or allow it to leverage technology to become more profitable. And yet, strategy is a term often conflated with all of the aforementioned.
At its core, strategy is about choosing a set of activities to generate a unique mix of value. Digital strategy involves decisions made on the basis of a given company’s goals, opportunities, and vision as they pertain to said company’s digital aspirations. These decisions serve to maximize an organization’s competitive advantage and ultimately guide its behavior. Digital strategy allows an organization to tap into the infinite potential of digital transformation. Good strategy is what distinguishes digital leaders.
As with most stories of success, digital strategy begins with a human element: an informed choice. A company in the process of articulating its digital strategy should focus on “playing to win”, as author Roger Martin prescribes, in a digital world. Before jumping ahead to the where and the how of digital strategy, address first the issues that affect the development of a cohesive strategy, and refine the systems of activity that support digital transformation. Key questions to ask include:
- Do we diversify or do we consolidate our digital channels?
- Do we centralize or do we distribute the digital agenda?
- Do we innovate or do we problem solve with digital?
- Do we change the game or do we make incremental improvements with digital?
- Do we lead in digital or do we follow?
In short, digital strategy is a matter of choice. While contemporary discussion of a company’s success focuses only on the numbers, the legacy of success is always explained by a narrative — especially one that dissects the choices people make. Rather than more analysis or planning, digital transformation demands action.
To learn more about digital transformation and digital strategy, pick up a copy of Leading Digital, the new book co-authored by Capgemini Consulting’s Didier Bonnet, and begin your journey toward digital mastery, today.