For years businesses have been boasting of their digital credentials. Digital we’ve been told is no longer a department, but a companywide ethos.
The reality in all sectors, however, is that many organisations are still working to making that a reality. Even if digital thinking permeates all departments and everything a firm does, it still needs to ensure that has the right people to deliver.
Here are 10 clear guiding principles to make sure that your organisation is truly digital inside:
Build a board of believers.
Within any organization there are purists, converts and laggards — at all levels of seniority –when it comes to digital. The most important catalyst for digital success is the backing of the board. Make this a reality by making them realize that digital is sink-or-swim issue for the business. Take them on a tour of Silicon Valley, exposing them to how the Internet giants see the near and present future. If you can’t do this then prepare a well-researched presentation and education opportunity and sell your heart out. You’re transforming a business, not a department, and you will need more than one backer on the board.
Plan it out.
There is a lot to do to make a company digital inside. Organizational change is always slow. Once you have decided on your destination you need to identify a solid pathway to get there. Plan out your milestones, metrics of success and make sure everyone knows where you are on the path. Don’t be shy of change, however: The pathway may deviate, but the destination remains.
Start-ups are just small businesses.
Start-ups get great press. They have their own inspiring nomenclature as well as lofty job titles like “head of innovation.” More and more companies are spending time wondering how to think like a start up. What we often forget is that not all start-ups are successful. The mechanics of business don’t disappear when you’re doing something new in digital. Have a clear approach for navigating this space, it provides amazing opportunities, just don’t lose your common sense.
The right partner for today’s problem will categorically be the wrong partner in a few years. You can research and deliberate to find the perfect fit but rest assured that someone new will leapfrog the market forward. Digital moves fast. Problems evolve and change. Your solutions need to be able to do the same. Make sure you have an exit strategy built in and understand your switching costs and implications.
The technology stack is your most important asset.
Technology is at the heart of digital transformation. Your business technology solutions are your technology stack. While there are providers who will want to own your stack end to end, there are also partial solutions that work well with other partial solutions. Fundamentally, though, your technology stack is your intellectual property for effectively running your business operations. When you decide on its components you need to understand each choice you are making compared with the alternatives and what real cost each solution has. Not just the monetary cost but also the opportunity cost or opportunity lost.