To survive in today’s competitive business climate, companies will need a viable digital business strategy. A well-prepared digital plan will provide businesses with the best chance for success. Apparently, this is not surprising for most companies. In fact, most organizations (89%) “have plans to adopt digital-first business strategy” according to the 2018 State of Business Transformation. However, only less than half (44%) have “fully adopted this approach.” So, what is a digital business strategy? Does it mean more technology? In general terms, we’re talking about a business plan that is designed to leverage the benefits of digital resources to create value.
No business can escape
Traditional ways of doing business are fast-becoming extinct. Customers have come to accept and enjoy the benefits of the economy of tech. The many digital options make consumers’ lives easier to manage. From online shopping and home delivery to virtual assistants, technology touches many aspects of daily living.
Businesses who plan to stay status quo will lose a huge competitive edge. For example, even auto repair shops will need to transform and upgrade tools and training. It will be important for technicians to keep up with new cars that have “assisted driving features and electrification.” Mastering technology was, in fact, a hot topic at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) last November. According to Interstate Batteries President and General Manager Tyler Reeves, “technology will transform techs in the shops.” Innovations turns technicians into “super-users of devices and services.” Chris Blanchette, technical operations and innovations for Bridgestone Retail Operations, stresses that auto repair businesses must commit to staying current with technology.
Not just about technology
In summarizing MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital research, Entrepreneur.com pointed to the importance of a digital business strategy as part of the “key practices that differentiate the most digitally mature companies.” A well planned and executed digital strategy as well as the concept of weaving digital into a company’s DNA was lacking in less advanced organizations.
This is especially important for smaller businesses who expect to be competitive in their industry. A great example is Nested Bean, a company recognized by FedEx as a winner in their Small Business Grant Contest. The company provides a special swaddle device for infants that simulates a human touch. After three years of trying the initial business strategy of educating customers and pushing for online sales, owner Manasi Gangan changed her website approach. She invested in a new ecommerce platform and effective advertising that she feels made all the difference. In fact, the new ecommerce platform quadrupled online sales by taking customers by the hand to discover her product. She advises choosing your ecommerce platform carefully. Select one “that integrates with the most applications, as well as supports data collection.” Just creating an online website is not enough.
Partner with IT
If you’re large enough to have an IT department, you’ll need to get them onboard to become partners with you in your digital plans. And it’s especially critical that IT is aligned with your business goals. In a Forbes article, it was noted that 86 percent of the time, IT is an effective partner “In companies that made the investment to restructure IT for digital transformation capabilities.” To make this happen, companies need to centralize IT, commit to innovation, use digital technologies extensively, and improve operations speed. Also, developing a new, cross-functional talent model for IT will help facilitate departmental growth.
Start on your digital business strategy
Begin planning your digital business strategy by first defining your company’s goals and expectations for how digital resources will bring value to your bottom line. Be sure to align your digital strategy to your overall business objectives. Look at every department and how digital technologies will improve operations, provide additional value, and create ROI. And before you begin the strategy’s roll out, make sure you have plans in place to monitor and measure results.