Developing a digital business strategy is high on the agenda of progressive business leaders: we explore some essential things to include to ensure your strategy delivers.

There’s a mindset shift taking place among business leaders about the role of IT and digital initiatives in their company, and how technology enables them to deliver value. 

Digital disruption is real: businesses are using technology to undercut much larger competitors, offer new types of products and services, and more adeptly meet customer’s needs. Companies that confidently embrace technology are achieving revenue growth faster and have a clearer picture of how they will adapt and develop their team to face the changes yet to come.

However, research shows that while Australian businesses feel compelled to digitally transform, they often lack company-wide strategies for sharing data and don’t have the required level of Board and management support.

Small, medium and large businesses in every industry need to take advantage of digital to remain viable, let alone thrive—that necessitates a strategy to guide your digital transformation. 

Focus on a strategy for a world driven by digital 

Some people view digital strategy as a way to document goals for online activities: such as e-commerce and digital marketing approaches, and the hardware and software stack behind them. 

But the truth is, digital technologies are no longer simply a way to augment current business practices. The world is becoming digital by default. 

Almost every consumer relies on their smartphone. Massive companies are built around connecting people with the information they want, engaging user interfaces, and making transactions easier. 

Just look at the staggering rise of Airbnb, a company that owns no “hotel” assets but whose competitive advantage centres on a platform that creates value for consumers—helping people to earn money from unused spaces and making it easy for travellers to book accommodation.

A digital business strategy, therefore, has whole-of-organisation implications. It’s about setting a strategy to succeed in an environment where digital technologies are ubiquitous.

Seven key factors you must address in your digital business strategy

In business, everyone wants to win. A strategy is like a game plan—it defines the goals but also how you’ll achieve them, and which moves and players will need to be involved. 

That requires an in-depth look at how your business can best realise its competitive advantage, framed by an honest evaluation of how you stack up against competitors, where your market is headed, and the value you can bring to customers. 

Start by thinking carefully about:

  • How are you currently performing, and where can you improve?
  • Who are your customers, how do they behave, and what do they want?
  • Which digitally-driven operating models will help you improve and add value?
  • What kind of technologies, workforce skills, processes, and partners are needed?

The digital business strategy you produce should touch on these factors: 

  1. Customer value: What outcomes will improve customer’s lives, reach more people, enhance their experience, and produce higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty? How will you engage with people, collect and use their data, understand how effective your marketing has been, and leverage customer information throughout your business?
  2. Business model: How will you reinvent your business to remain relevant in a digitally-driven world? How can you reposition or restructure to benefit from data, emerging tech, and online platforms going forward?
  3. Cloud and mobility: Cloud computing and mobile devices are becoming the norm because they offer greater flexibility and accessibility. In what ways can you make use of these technologies to enhance efficiency and decision-making?  
  4. Supply chain: There are fewer limitations in engaging with global markets when you take advantage of technology. How will you improve or enable supplier interactions, streamline sourcing, or develop your networks? 
  5. Security: Data and information are assets and liabilities, and the type of infrastructure, systems, and data governance methods you adopt will impact your company’s value, reputation, compliance, and cybersecurity risk. 
  6. Efficiency and productivity: Where is the manual effort needed and where is it wasted? What equipment, software or techniques will free your team from process-driven activities through automation and analysis, increase output, improve quality, and reduce errors? 
  7. Skills and workforce development: What approaches will help prepare and empower your team to apply their talent and critical thinking skills more readily in a digitally-driven environment? What skills or information do they need and how can these be delivered as and when needed? 

And here’s a bonus eighth thing to consider and include in your strategy: who are the trusted partners or vendors you will work with to determine the right technology for your purpose, implement the systems you select, and support your business to keep your systems current? 

Once you know the game plan, you commit to execution, with an awareness that the strategy may need to be adapted and tweaked over time.

Remember, successful digital transformation is an enterprise-wide endeavour, and may require significant change, investment, and leaving behind legacy systems—such as adopting a more modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. 

We’ve helped hundreds of Australian businesses to advance their digital business strategy by implementing the ideal ERP solution, and we can help you too. Call 1300 045 046 or email [email protected].