Once upon a time… there were strategies for everything. While having a business strategy is often the anchor strategy you may also find a sales strategy, a marketing strategy and now a digital strategy in your business.
Digital strategies and the transformation they drive is evolving business’ from analog to digital. The journey is fast and furious. As a result of this businesses who choose not to get on board now also risk becoming irrelevant, disrupted or extinct.
Digital must now be core to every part of your business. Every decision that is made in the business should start with… So how will digital make this ….?
Digital strategies – Are you a sinner or saint?
1/ STRATEGY SIN: You are business-centric
Your business offers X products and Y services as a result of perceived customer demand. Naturally, because of this approach, you position your business strategy to continue to improve and deliver these products and services. Your focus is to also deliver these products and services with lower cost and higher returns. Does this sound familiar?
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Become customer-centric
Your customers determine the success of your business. Now is the time to audit your business and benchmark how you perform in your industry and against best practices. This process will also help your business to understand what customers want now and in the future. Furthermore if you do the same thing the same way your should expect to get the same result. In business today you are almost certainly going to get a much lesser result and see diminishing returns. This will also progressively compromise the viability and relevancy of your business.
2/ STRATEGY SIN: Cutting costs to remain competitive
When the going gets tough a lot of businesses would rather cut their costs and bunker down to weather the storm than be proactive. This behaviour closes the eyes of your business rather than making your business aware of what is happening around you. It also puts your business in a defensive position and increases your business vulnerability on price point and not on value. This is a game that your business will almost certainly never win and you will continue to lose market share.
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Invest in your business’ future
There is no doubt that due to the necessity for change and ongoing disruption the interruption of the traditional business model cannot be ignored. To stay relevant you also need to understand the customer climate and innovate based on qualified and quantitative data. As a result of this action being taken your business will be empowered to grow and outshine your competition. An investment based on intelligence and visualization is money well spent.
3/ STRATEGY SIN: Being reactive
Your competitors are changing their business models and embracing technology. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. If your competition are doing it successfully you assume it is what the market wants so you invest in a version of what your competitors are doing to remain competitive. You compete on cost to offer an alternative that is attractive for your customers as an option to your competitors more expensive offering. This will make your competitive….right? Remember when you take this approach are trusting that your competition has made the right decision for you.
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Be proactive
Being reactive means you are always behaving from what ‘has happened’. The key words here are ‘has happened’ . Working in the past tense is disadvantaging your business as you are always trying to mimic or catch up to where you think you should be. Strategic planning with digital tools at the core of your decision making ‘turns the tables’ and puts you back in the driver’s seat. You are able to introduce indicative and predictive analytics based on market intelligence.
4/ STRATEGY SIN: Culture adverse
By accepting that the culture in your business does not or will not change you are condemning your business to a bleak future. Technology is often mistaken as digital transformation where it really is a tool that facilitates it. The true driver is your people and the culture in your business. Culture will have a bigger impact on your P & L going forward than technology ever will alone.
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Culture shift
Culture change doesn’t happen overnight and cannot happen without people in your business championing digital transformation and owning it. When this starts from the C-suite down the momentum starts to swing but the key is identifying, incentifying and rewarding people in your organisation who champions and lead change. These are the people who will work with their teams to make true digital transformation happen. Invest in resource to bring into your business to educate, facilitate and guide your business.
5/ STRATEGY SIN: Tunnel Vision
Planning a strategy that is projected on what you know or think you know now will be fatal. The 3 year/5 year strategies that have been the mainstay for legacy businesses as the bible of what they will do next, how they will resource and what they will invest in is now redundant. Your business vision needs to recognize that business is changing almost before the ink dries on the bound print strategy on your desk. Today’s business strategy is a living and breathing document that must be agile to respond to change as it occurs.
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Peripheral Vision
You must look outside of the centre of your focus to be able to see what is happening in your industry and even in other industries that may disrupt or change the course of yours. Smart and agile startups that are only interested in giving your customers what they want, where and when they want it should be on your radar. The strategies start-ups work from are agile and living. They make changes to their strategies that reflect what the customer is saying and are responsive to change. This enables them to deliver immediacy and satisfaction.
6/ STRATEGY SIN: Competing with yourself
Silos are nothing new in business and silos competing for budget dollar in a business isn’t new either. This annual push and shove for the budget business dollar dilutes the power of the business to perform in an agile manner. If department A is competing with department B to achieve their independent objectives you have to ask these questions.
- What is happening to the companies goals of achieving their objectives?
- Is the business being obsured by internal politics and is this overriding what is important to the business holistically?
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making yourself competitive
Your business needs to establish strategies that are customer led and are driven by digital at their core.
- How can you better manage your business by embracing digital?
- Who should own digital in your business to drive this?
You need to hold digital accountable for this! Digital should touch and impact every part of your business model and your business operations (yes your people). Technology is critical to make this happen. This will arm your business to be ready to compete with disruption, change and challenges. Your business will evolve to become a smart and innovative digital leader.
7/ STRATEGY SIN: Set and forget
Does this sound familiar?
Your business strategy has consumed your business time and resources. You have ensured that you have addressed everything you need to and it has been documented ready for board approval. The presentation goes well and the strategy is approved. Beautifully bound volumes of your business strategy are sent to key stakeholders across the business….then what?
Meetings follow and key elements of the strategy are implemented. The challenge is that a lot of what is written on those pages is left sitting on desks. It is highly likely as time passes that they will gather dust and be overlooked or simply ignored. This could be due to the either the challenges of the day-to-day running of the business or lack of time rather than intent.
STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making it happen iteratively
Strategies need to be informed before they can be determined and your current and prospective customers should be the authors of your strategy. Once you learn what your customers and stakeholders need and want you have qualified data that illustrates direction and enables smart decision making.
- What if your business could have a strategy that was licensed to be implemented iteratively and incrementally? This would effectively take the strategy off those pages and deliver quick wins as it is implemented.
- What if these wins could offset cost, reduce resources, improve sales and be measured by other benchmarks to grow the business.
This would justify investment and also empower your business to change course as your customers needs and wants change. This would give your business the competitive advantage you need. This is how true digital transformation works.
Please feel free to add other strategy sins that are not listed here and their remedies! How we behave as businesses has never made us more vulnerable than we are now.
Your business can not afford to invest in a digital transformation.
No business is exempt from change and everything you hear and see suggests that this is only the beginning.
Originally posted 2016-04-10 15:20:28.