The fundamentals of digital strategy

By Anders Björklund

The fundamentals of digital strategy

Attending conferences and reading reports and articles, one can assume the world is evolving quickly regarding online, digitalisation, digitisation and digital transformation. If you feel you and your company need to catch up or know what and how to prioritise, join most companies - most are fumbling their way through this. You can download six examples of effective digital strategies at the end of this article.

Understanding the digital strategy landscape

Our definition is that the digital strategy focuses on using technology to improve your company's performance, whether creating new offerings or reimagining processes. The digital strategy specifies your organisation's direction to develop and complete competitive advantages with technology and its tactics to achieve these changes.

Diverse perspectives on digital strategy

Many decision-makers are still in the process of defining their digital strategy, each with their own ideas about its purpose and implementation. Some believe they have a solid digital strategy in place, while others may disagree. In general, most companies have a variety of concepts and perspectives regarding what constitutes a digital strategy.

Marketing usually sees a digital strategy as everything a company does when it comes online. IT usually refers to something with the cloud when discussing a digital strategy. Operations consider it to be data analytics. The R&D manager sees digital strategy as an online product. Financial as online revenue touchpoints. Legal sees online and digital as a problem. And so it goes. 

The challenges of digital transformation

Digital transformation is only sometimes the central part of business strategies. Most decision-makers know that they still only take incremental digital steps instead of having digital fully integrated into everything they do.

Most executives know their companies must catch up in digital, and some ask me if they are too late. It does not matter that they realise the importance of digital transformation if this is "not a top priority." Still, many also admit that their organisations are likely in denial about the necessity for transformation. As a result, many say, their colleagues often wrongly presume they are actively working towards the digital strategy already.

Defining a comprehensive digital strategy

Let's circle back to the question: How can you tell if you've got a genuine digital strategy as opposed to just dipping your toes into various digital projects now and then? Also, are your executives putting digital initiatives with real potential at the top of their priority list?

To outline what constitutes your digital strategy, the most fitting response is that it encompasses all of the above mentioned aspects. For most executives, digital is viewed as a collection of systems and tools that offer data and automation capabilities, with the primary focus being on enhancing effectiveness.

Overcoming obstacles in digital integration

But online and digital initiatives have been ongoing for over two decades. By now everyone and everything should be onlinified and digitalised, but it still needs to be. 

In recent years, cloud computing has emerged as a vital component of the digital landscape. It provides a means to automate and incorporate processes and capabilities that were previously out of reach for many companies.One advantage of the cloud is that cloud providers are integrating their wealth of knowledge and best practices regarding digital processes into their services, making them readily available and shareable among their customer base. API offerings and distinct online functionalities that can seamlessly integrate with processes and applications have a strong connection to the cloud.

Harnessing data analytics for business growth

Another pivotal component within the digital landscape involves embracing data analytics and the potential to infuse analytical thinking into every facet of business decision-making. A growing number of companies are now acquiring the skills to extract valuable insights from their data. They are actively working on refining methods to process this data through their algorithms and rules to enhance the delivery of superior and more agile services. 

Achieving these objectives often demands a shift in mindset, substantial reprioritisation efforts, and the cultivation of specific skill sets. Therefore, your executive leadership must consider both the nature and extent of their investments to attain digital momentum. The following prioritisations and actions are some needed parts of your ambition to drive online and digital:

Shifting mindsets and prioritising digital velocity

Some of this takes a shifted mindset and huge re-prioritisations and requires special skills. So your executive management needs to ask themselves what and how to invest to achieve digital velocity. The following prioritisations and actions are some needed parts of your ambition to drive online and digital:

  • To know how it is to be them.
  • Build and manage as a natural part of how you do business and your way of working.
  • Enhancements to processes for increased agility.
  • Everything you provide must be relevant, effortless, simple and support customer needs and engagement.

Navigating the journey of digital transformation

These are key considerations to remember and fundamental markers to confirm that you are progressing toward becoming a digital enterprise. This journey often involves taking incremental steps, and it's worth noting that there is no universally accepted framework for digital transformation.

Digital strategy examples

You can download the PowerPoint presentation, where you will find a classification of six types of digital strategies. The three first are primarily offensive, targeting new demands, supply or business models. The last three are defensive by nature since they aim to improve what the companies using them do slightly.

Download examples

Want to know more? Through our digitalisation guide: what, why, when and how to use it, you'll find much more to read!

Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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