Digital technologies can help streamline existing operations and transform customer experiences. Although a majority of organizations have a digital strategy, others struggle to transform their digital ambitions into a genuine and lasting competitive advantage.
Disruptive technology is changing our workplaces and the way we work. It is leading most employees to consider the way digital disruption will impact their careers and even question what type of jobs their kids will do once they grow up.
As you can imagine employers also face the same challenges as they consider which capabilities they will have to develop to allow their business to flourish in a new and competitive digital world. This is why it is vital to ensure that your business is ready for a digital future.
The Rapid Pace of Digital Change
Due to the rapid pace of digital change most businesses are no longer sure who their competitors would be soon – or, who they may disrupt.
As per research performed by Innosight, at the staggering current rate almost half of the current S&P 500 would be replaced by 2026. New business model innovators and digital technology are expected to be crucial factors behind this significant shift in the biggest corporate indices. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of options and opportunities that the new technology creates, or to feel uncertain about where to develop new capabilities.
That being said, if you view and analyze this data from another perspective, it shows that there is huge potential for digitally-focused businesses to create more wealth and new jobs.
The Importance of Digital Strategy
Note that implementing or using the latest digital technologies isn’t enough. For instance, listening to Facebook and Twitter data alone is often inadequate. You should know what exactly to listen for, how to study, analyze and interpret relevant data, and how to respond. In addition, you must act on the information these platforms provide.
It is worth mentioning that in most cases, effective digital strategies are less geared toward acquiring and implementing the best technology. They are more about reconfiguring and improving your business to take full advantage of the valuable information that these technologies enable. Your business must bring together a diverse number of digital technologies that are integrated across processes, people, and functions to attain an important business advantage.
According to research, an effective strategy is more cohesively and strongly connected with digital maturity compared to technology use.
Nearly forty per cent of respondents from the least digitally mature organizations (which are often called “early-stage companies”) indicated that their organization uses various digital technologies to a great or moderate extent. However, only 15% stated that their organization has a clear and effective digital strategy.
More than 88% of respondents from digitally maturing organizations claimed that their company uses the latest digital technologies to a great or moderate extent, while about 81% indicated having a clear digital strategy.
Although there is a difference of 48 percentage points in technology usage between these 2 groups, the difference in terms of strategy clarity is a staggering 66 percentage points.
Research also shows that organizational culture is very important to use digital technologies in the workplace. Hence, one of the key factors respondents claimed is most crucial to effectively leverage various digital technologies is the open-mindedness and willingness to take risks and experiment.
The relationship between digital technologies and organizational culture requires a specific mindset, and it might need a major shift in your current mindset before you can make the most of digital technologies.
Developing Digitally Savvy Talent
The development and training of digitally savvy talent is another factor that distinguishes the most digitally mature organizations from the least ones. In research, respondents from organizations across all maturity levels indicated a lack of specific key skills. However, the major difference is in what these companies are actually doing about it.
Note that only about 20% of surveyed employees from organizations that are in the initial stages of digital maturity strongly agreed or agreed that their companies provide them with the opportunities or resources to obtain the suitable skills to take full advantage of new digital trends. Developing digitally savvy talent is important if you want to prepare your business for a digital future.
Make sure you focus your organization’s efforts on most of the digital opportunities in these areas:
Develop a Network of Collaborators
A key role of a digital leader is funding new approaches to build new capabilities and offset technical debt through valuable partnerships and collaboration. If your business can develop the flexibility to venture into new and better capabilities more effectively than its competitors, you will be the winner in this new digital economy.
Note that just like a circle of close friends, your company needs to develop a strong network of reliable external partners that could take your business to the next level by delivering an effective digital enterprise strategy. If your company has enough capital to invest, you can do this through acquisitions. That being said, no single firm is an island in this sea of digital disruption.
Focus on Growth Opportunities
Keep in mind that organizations and businesses that are pragmatic proactively invest in new and innovative business models that can embrace digital change. They can expand beyond geographical and industrial borders and reinvent themselves by delivering innovative and enhanced services, products, and experiences.
If you want to be a digital leader, embrace a portfolio of investment and development opportunities in new platforms and tools to improve your customer experience.
Also, it means challenging your conventional approach to ROI for all technology investments via more innovation and focused portfolio management to positively disrupt your existing business model.
Leverage the Immense Power of Data Analytics
There is another practical way to get your business ready for a digital future. It involves embracing digital disruption and using sophisticated analytics software for leveraging what is usually masses of latent or under-utilized corporate and customer data.
As per research by IDC and EMC, from 2005 to 2021, it is expected that the amount of digital data generated, replicated, and consumed in one year will have grown by a staggering factor of 300 – increasing from 130 Exabytes to a jaw-dropping 40,000 Exabytes, or forty trillion gigabytes. Yet, it is surprising that only a small fraction of this data has been studied and tested for analytic value.
Research shows that organizations that consistently use data analytics usually outperform those that don’t, by leveraging deep analysis to support objectives, strategic-decision making, and innovation. They also must enhance data security and work closely with a cybersecurity consultant to minimize online threats.
Develop a Future-proof Digital Investment Strategy
Your business needs to be clear regarding the digital capabilities you need to aspire to – for instance, what you need to buy, versus what you need to build.
This is where a structured and thoughtful investment strategy will help ensure that no innovative ideas are overlooked or abandoned and that you achieve the scale through the best distribution channels and assets available (whether these are owned and operated internally or otherwise).
Your business also needs to be pragmatic with investing in a change that would generate a return to the existing business and help manage a portfolio of a profitable future investment that will deliver great results in the years to come.
Keep in mind that when you make a strong investment in the right talent and digital technology – as part of a highly integrated and comprehensive portfolio across all your business functions – then the rewards from this digital disruption could be limitless.