This is part 2 of a 3-part series on digital blueprints. Click here to read part 1.
Digital transformation has tremendous potential to unleash value for organizations; therefore, organizations in increasing numbers are formulating digital strategies. However, we find that many are missing significant transformation and value, which are both made possible by holistic enterprise digital strategies. Many digital strategies are focused too narrowly. For example, leaders claimed that they are achieving the digital strategy by moving applications and infrastructure to the cloud. A digital strategy establishes the enterprise vision and priorities for digital transformation. To power your digital transformation, leverage a digital blueprint – a structured approach to evaluate opportunity areas, value drivers, and risks, and ultimately align the digital path with business drivers.
Common Elements of a Holistic Digital Strategy
How can an organization build a strong foundation that will lead to true digital innovation? There are five common elements of a holistic digital strategy:
Digital trailblazers embrace the first two success factors in the creation of their digital strategy blueprint.
1. DISCOVER: Outside-In External Scan
Start with an “outside-looking-in” understanding of the industry trends and emerging digital models. Business models and enabling technologies are constantly evolving. Investigating similar industries, value chain partners, and competitors can provide critical insights to inspire innovation. Moreover, this activity can help identify likely disruptions that need to be addressed, or even embraced by your digital plan. The goal is to develop likely scenarios for the digitized future of your industry. These scenarios should encompass immediate (6-12 months), interim (2-5 years), and long-term (6+ years) views.
For companies that lack a digital strategy framework, the result is often a set of narrowly focused initiatives that do not encompass the full value of digital transformation. These companies are left vulnerable to competitors and new entrants that can deploy innovative operating models that result in better, cheaper, more customized products, faster service, and an improved customer experience. Organizations that develop a holistic digital strategy will earn significantly greater rewards from their digital investments.
Disruptors are mapping out the digital business playing fields and placing stakes to claim their positions. They are scanning the future horizon and placing big bets to create new business models and develop digital core competencies. Executives are increasing their digital savviness by participating in study tours, technology showcases, tours of Silicon Valley, hackathons that produce contextualized prototypes, and reverse mentoring.
2. UNDERSTAND: Know Your Starting Point
Understand your own digital maturity and capabilities. Done right, digital transformation requires a cohesive effort, in which all levels of the organization and all functions are aligned. Assessing your digital maturity can help identify accelerators to energize early initiatives, as well as gaps that must be addressed to sustain the effort. At minimum, a balanced view of digital maturity should include:
- Leadership Commitment: Leadership commitment and alignment are pre-requisites for digital transformation success. Evidence of leadership commitment includes articulating the vision and strategy, and investing to increase understanding of the drivers, opportunities, and emerging technologies.
- Technology Knowledge and Access: It is essential for technology knowledge and application to be a core competency. How does your organization identify, evaluate, and develop digital technologies? What is your organization’s level of competency in cybersecurity?
- Cultural Readiness: Alignment of the organizational culture and structure with the strategy is as essential as the technology capabilities.
- Data Maturity: Effective data management and advanced analytics capabilities are foundations for digital transformation. What is your level of competency in analytics and data science?
- Technology Delivery (including customer and user experience): It is important to provide a streamlined process to design, develop, deploy, and sustain digital products and applications using design thinking and agile methods.
- Digital Transformation Program Acceleration: It is essential for a group to ensure that the organization is measuring value, learning, facilitating knowledge sharing, and providing common capabilities, such as program management and stakeholder engagement.
Having completed the external scan and assessment of your current digital maturity and capabilities, you‘ve laid the foundation to inform your enterprise-wide strategy. Digital strategy is a collaborative review of the enterprise value chain, used to discover big picture opportunities and business outcomes. The result is a unified vision for future enterprise, supported by a multi-year, phased transformation blueprint aligned with strategic priorities.
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