How You Can Develop a Successful Digital Strategy

Digital Transformation | 0 comments | by Erin Quilliam

Developing a successful digital strategy is increasingly important in today’s world. It will not only outline what it is you want to achieve but informs the tactics you will use to achieve these goals. A digital strategy is not the same as digital transformation. However, you might find that you require a transformation after investigating your business strategy and digital goals.

In this article, we have outlined what a digital strategy is, why it’s important, and how you can create a successful digital strategy for your business.

What is a digital strategyWhat is Digital Strategy?

A digital strategy is a plan for how your business will succeed within the digital world. It sets out your aims and what steps you will take to achieve them.

In many ways, it can be likened to your business strategy. Many of the objectives will be the same or markedly similar between both strategies. The only difference is that your digital strategy is clearly focused on digital and technology. Typically, how you can adopt technology into the heart of your business model.

The items within your digital strategy could include the technology you plan to use, how, and when. The strategy will also outline how you will use this technology to enhance your current work process, or create a competitive advantage. It will include plans to restructure your team to enhance their workflow according to their digital practice, or the plans to hire new talent. 

Hw does digital strategy relate to digital transformationHow Does it Relate to Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is when a business fundamentally changes to incorporate a digital focus at the heart of the business model. Whereas your digital strategy is about adding some new technology or adapting an existing process, which means that the changes are not so widespread. However, defining your digital strategy may make it clear that you need to undergo a digital transformation in order to meet your aims.

how to create a successful digital strategy step by stepWhat are the Most Important Steps in Creating a Successful Digital Strategy?

Define Your Business Objectives

The most important step to creating a strong plan, and a successful project, is to clearly define your long-term goals. This is because these objectives will steer your strategy and tactics and inform everything that your business does. You should define both what you and your business want, and what you need.

“The most important initial step is understanding your long term business objectives. Once you understand this, you can transform the people, processes and the technical implementations.” – Thomas De Vos, Founder of IT Enterprise

Until you understand your objectives, you cannot begin to plan your business tactics. Without an idea of where you are going, you will simply lose focus and be unable to plan effectively. Lacking an effective plan is a sure path to failure. It’s like trying to drive somewhere without a map, and no set destination. You’ll just be driving forward for the sake of movement, and not achieve very much.

Investigate What Technology Will Help You Reach Your Aims

A key aspect of your digital strategy will be highlighting the technology you plan to take on and use. This means you will need to investigate the technology that is available to you, how to use it, and how it could benefit you. You will also have to consider if any aspect of your business needs to change in order to make the most of this new technology.

Become More Agile

A key factor in the success of a digital strategy is how agile and adaptable you can be. This is in part due to the nature of the digital world, where technology and trends move rapidly and everything can be accessible within seconds on devices that work wherever we are in the world. Being able to change and move with the times allows you to keep up with this evolving world, but it might take some structural or organisational changes in order to manage it. Additionally, employing product management methods such as the MVP that cut the time between conceiving an idea and deploying it, helping you to become more agile in developing your ideas.

Dig Out Your Data and Measure

Thanks to digital, the availability of data has exploded. You should be using this to your advantage. By collecting data and measuring everything you are doing, you can make informed assessments of your current strategy and tactics, and how well they are working. You can also uncover insights into your customers, who they are, and what they want. This abundance of data means you can make much more informed decisions about your business, how you run it, and how you can achieve your goals. 

One key part of this “measure” phase is the availability of validated learning. By developing your ideas and testing them in ways such as the MVP method, you can receive feedback from real buyers and trial your idea in the real world without sinking huge amounts of time and investment into it. 

Measuring your current efforts will give you insight into what is successful – for you or your peers and how you can build upon it. It’s all about discovering what’s working, and how to maximise your success. 

Innovate, Transform, and Forge Ahead

In a recent McKinsey survey, they found that only 8% of business leaders felt their current business models would remain economically viable without digital-based changes. They also found that the companies that had already embraced digital were far exceeding their peers in preparedness for new economic realities.

Businesses that are succeeding are doing so due to strong digital strategies, and the incorporation of digital into the heart of their business. Many have undergone a thorough digital transformation.

Business owners are now readily admitting the need to embrace digital, whilst consumers expectations and habits continue to evolve due to modern technology. Consumers and the technology they use in their day-to-day lives are evolving rapidly, and many businesses are failing – or refusing – to keep up. This frustrates customers, who then quickly find a competitor who can satisfy their needs. (And let’s face it, finding an alternative has never been quicker or easier than online.) It also annoys employees, who have the same technology at home and have this digital awareness themselves. Yet they are forced to work with outdated and inefficient technology. 

Innovation and transformation are not just keys to surviving and thriving in the modern world, they build better experiences for customers and employees alike.

Reflect on yourself and your company as part of your strategy developmentTake the Time to Question Yourself

To help you create a solid digital strategy and a better understanding of your business, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Why?
    Why are you developing this strategy? Why do you exist as a business?
  • Who?
    Who is the strategy hoping to benefit? Who will need to employ the strategy?
  • What?
    What do you hope to gain from employing the strategy? What is it for? What is your business hoping to achieve?
  • How?
    How can you execute the strategy? How can you measure its success? How will this help you? How will this help your users?
  • When?
    When will you turn the strategy into action? When will you stop? When will you begin measuring your KPIs?

As prompted by Sunil Gupta, don’t forget to think about every aspect of your business. Consider your business strategy, your operation and value chain, customer engagement, and how you structure your organisation. Don’t just think about what technology and strategies would help you and layer them on. Work from the inside, out. Understand your values and strengths, and ensure the work you do strengthens your existing assets and core purpose. That is another key to success in developing digital strategies.

our conclusion on developing a digital stategyConclusion

Creating your digital strategy requires a lot of reflection on your business, your successes and weaknesses, and where you wish to go in the future. The key to a successful strategy largely sits on the depth and detail of this introspection, and the level of honesty you treat yourself and your business. 

Developing a successful digital strategy can take time and patience, particularly if you are still an analogue business. However, it is becoming increasingly necessary for businesses to develop and deliver a successful digital strategy in order to survive.

Not sure what your digital strategy should look like? Get in touch with one of our digital experts today.

We will provide in-depth and personalised advice about creating a successful digital strategy, just reserve a free digital consultation today

 

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