Digital is one of those buzz business words used too frequently and not truly understood. The word is mentioned sometimes with Disruption and Agile, making it confusing for those who have not immersed themselves in these topics. Disruption is the threat to your business and Agile is an approach for how your organisation can approach the work. Digital and its potential are an objective for many organisations. Many operate on hunches for their Digital goals while not considering the market, their business model, differentiation, and other aligning factors. Let’s take a look at these in more detail below:
How to contemplate what is going to be Digital? If your market is a mature or in a decline stage, Digital may help to extend it. If the market is changing your Digital endeavour may enable you to establish yourself within the evolved market; the efforts are probably best phased. The phasing of Digital generally begins by creating content for a community external to their organisation, overtime if the content is valuable, communities will interact and potentially want to transact on it. If the value is sustainable through differentiation, then scale should be considered.
How does and will your business differentiate? Digital differentiation is different from traditional types. People traditionally trusted organisations and transacted based on this. Globalisation has increased choice and competition in markets, with the ability to now search and compare products and services, organisational reputations are a secondary consideration. Organisations should look at how they can create customer stickiness through value differentiation and not being the less expensive as cost differentiation over time is challenging to sustain.
Ultimately organisations should establish differentiated Digital platforms that integrate information and transaction capability. Examples of platforms include; your mobile phone’s app store, and apps offering a consistent, accessible service (Uber). Alternatively, a significant one product purchase that has the customer select their preferred features (i.e. mortgage with the ability to make additional repayments) with the change effort being considerable creates customer stickiness.
The Digital endeavour is one of five co-dependent factors, creating an organisation in a constant state of transition, the others include;
Digital will change the way your business operates. Some organisations consider initiating Digital transformation programs; however, many transformations don’t realise or sustain the initial benefits. Organisations should develop their mindset and be more open to the potential of Digital learning through others and their experiences. The work with organisations will evolve as they learn. Individuals should focus on identifying valuable work rather than a wanting large volume. People should be encouraged to consciously challenge their responsibilities and activities to rationalise less valuable ones.
Greater transparency of the costs of technology will enable more informed decision making. The technology team should set out to consistently communicate expenses, decisions, progress to outcomes and choices made with their business partners. The context provided within the communication will not only inform but also educate the broader organisation. Further, this communication will indirectly mentor those within the technology team. The technology team must remain actively engaged and present with the business as Digital endeavours have a dependency on them.
The management of risk is a capability required across the organisation, with employees analysing, mitigating or escalating potential areas of risk-reducing the instances of issues. Digital has the potential to exacerbate the potential problems, and these issues could stop the Digital endeavours. Understanding how to mitigate issues enables an organisation to achieve a constant state of transition.
Setting the conditions for innovation offers the potential for it to be part of how people operate (work) within an organisation. Many organisations have either a value or several initiatives associated with innovation. Both are not how people work within an organisation.
Some factors for condition setting include; the encouragement of the diversity of thought, striving for a diverse and flexible workforce with flexibility seen as an enabler rather than benefit, creating spaces where people can casually connect, and combining those generating ideas with those with business skills. There are two types of organisational Innovation being;
- Tactical; innovation generally achieving outcomes within a year involves many employees who may seek to simplify tasks, eliminate or automate processes, the openness of data enabling for insights and the involvement of third parties to progress identified areas of tactics.
- Dreaming; is over several to many years with fewer, expert employees and possibly selected external partners. The groups coalesce and strive to meet an objective.
A structured approach to endeavours is likely to result in the earlier realisation of an organisation’s Digital potential. Further, employees should be encouraged to connect with communities outside the organisation and potentially build some form of presence in the market, achieved through their own online professional identity where they share areas of expertise and interests. Over time they will likely build communities that will help inform them and your organisation of content for future Digital endeavours.
Finally, leaders within these organisations can help support this organisation shift through connecting people, talking with them rather than at them and be prepared to share learnings through less formal types of communication such as blogs and video.
David Banger is an adjunct professor, Digital advisor and founder of CHANGE lead | Practical Digital. David works with organisations, their executive and technology teams to realise their Digital potential. He is the author of DIGITAL IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS | A guide to transition ($38.88). For more information about how David can help you visit www.davidbanger.com or www.changelead.com.