find themselves straining under the demand of remaining competitive and relevant
in a hyper-connected world. Customers are
fully able to bypass your advertising, compare pricing and features, and switch
between brands at the click of a button.
Digital is everywhere, and it can either be the fuel for your success or your
failure. The fact is that a customer-centric, agile approach to your digital
strategy will help you future-proof your business. So how do you design your own
winning digital strategy? Here is a recommended approach that will deliver very
Working from the outside in
To avoid a superficial or narrow focus your digital transformation journey
must address customer touch points as well as operations, logistics and supply
chain. You have to cross the divide between your websites, branches, contact
centres, sales teams and your operations and support through automation, big
data and analytics and enterprise mobility applications.
An authentic customer-centric approach reveals so many opportunities for
improvement. This spans across front- and back-office operational processes
through to your entire value chain. Customer journey mapping and customer value
proposition mapping, together with value chain analysis will highlight quick
wins where you can digitally enable cumbersome manual processes or breaks in the
journey between your different to-market channels.
What’s more, you can get exponentially more return if you consider not only
your company, but your extended ecosystem – staff, consultants, suppliers,
customers and their customers.
Maximising data and insights
Designing end-to-end customer experiences that are digitally enabled means
closing the loop, continuously. The process kicks off when a customer is made
aware of your offering and closes out at fulfilment, only to start again (or
never stop) in an endless stream of feedback loops. This generates insights and
leads to improvements in a virtuous cycle – one that is built and fed by data
Every part of your business can generate data, which provides intelligence
for other parts of the business, whether these are customer experience metrics
or process improvement stats from your production facilities.
It’s imperative that companies who want to go digital understand that digital
businesses are data-driven. The virtuous data cycle is one of continuous
improvement, and is constantly evolving performance and customer
Transforming the enterprise from within
Your digital strategy needs to be flexible and your organisation needs to be
flexible in order to drive digital. You have to become dynamic and responsive to
market feedback. Your digital strategy is as much about organisational
transformation as it is about serving an increasingly digital customer.
Digital isn’t something you do. It’s something you are. Effective
organisational design for digital is agile and self-organising. Digital
businesses have highly effective sense-and-respond capabilities, more so than
traditional command-and-control hierarchies.
Digital transformation is a whole business activity and as such it requires
leadership to take a hands-on approach. In today’s world of digital, there is no
usual. Everything is up for grabs as digitally fluent disruptors make their way
into every industry, eating away at the margins of slower, less responsive
businesses. You need to constantly reassess your position so that you can
refine, adjust or replace as needed. As such, digitally-enabled business model
innovation has to become a core competency at an executive level.
Although a comprehensive digital framework is crucial to long-lasting
competitiveness, this doesn’t mean you have to wait before driving digital to
solve immediate problems.
Find the low-hanging fruit that will improve your service offering or
optimise the customer journey. You can achieve quick wins with digital through
Agile sprints of no more than six weeks give rise to ongoing value creation.
Quick product release cycles include real customer insights, or even better,
real customers. These digital sprints create visibility and credibility for your
digital transformation. More importantly, as you release these improvements into
the market, you’ll listen to real customer feedback which will allow you to kick
off your own virtuous cycles – continuous improvement to your processes and
iterations of your digital strategy.
Prioritise and drive
Choose one or a few projects that offer a combination of providing the
greatest value to your customers with the least cost of effort. Sprint, review,
Your digital strategy and the organisational transformation required is a
digital operating system for your business, not just a business plan with
digital added in. And your digital operating system has to focus, not just on technology or
marketing, but on the whole range of people, processes and policies that will
allow you to operate your business successfully in a digital world.
The digital transformation journey often marks a pivot, or a move into
unfamiliar territory for most existing organisations. As the digital market is moving so quickly and
in such unpredictable ways, it’s essential to get strategic advice from experts
who have helped other organisations disrupt themselves profitably.
Ultimately, your digital strategy will come into focus when you don’t just
ask, "What will digital do for my company?” but rather, "How will digital add
value to my customers?”