The newest trend in IT isn’t from a single new technology entering the market, but rather several different types of technology trends maturing and converging at the same time. Mobile, cloud, big data and analytics and converged infrastructures are triggering a technological shift – causing many businesses to rethink traditional business strategies in order to adapt to this digitalisation.
The “old way” of handling business strategies is to plan ahead for at least three years – or more. However, because we’re dealing with a high level of technological velocity as the “new norm,” within even two years technology may change enough that could render your strategy outdated.
How can you capture these advancements in technology to give yourself a competitive advantage in the marketplace, stay relevant to your customers and have the flexibility and agility to respond to the next new technology trends?
The answer is with an inclusive digital business strategy that supports business goals through the benefit of digital tools, while making the lives of your customers and employees easier along the way.
Customer experience is the foundation
Developing a digital strategy and working toward digital transformation is not only about the utilisation of technology. It’s about using technology harmoniously across a company to optimise leadership, operations and the customer experience. Customer experience is the overall involvement your users have with your business, covering all touch points across the whole of their user journey.
A seamless and cohesive customer experience means that no matter what tools or channels are used, the interaction leaves behind a positive feeling. The better the customer experience, the more likely your users are to become loyal brand advocates. Digital transformation can allow users to see, feel and interact with your company through the use of digital products across desktop, mobile, tablet, TV or other connected devices, but digital transformation can seem daunting or unattainable.
Rethinking the ideal business strategy, from the bottom up
When many companies launch initiatives to improve customer experience or utilize digital technologies, they’re usually constricted within certain departments, and tend to start with the question of which technology should be implemented.
The ideal scenario for a digital business strategy is an enterprise-wide plan that starts with asking about user needs and pain points, then working backwards to identify which technology can be used to best address those needs.
For many companies, this may require a new type of thinking: Put the user at the core of the overall strategy, followed by an understanding of business and technology processes and dependencies, ultimately driving you to the execution of the strategy.
How to plan a digital business strategy that puts customers first, technology second
A customer-centric digital business strategy is about putting customers first and technology second. Here’s how to do that:
Develop a deep understanding of with whom you want to interact and engage. This could also mean your employees. How can their user experience be improved?
- Conduct primary and secondary user research
- Drill down into various user characteristics values, behaviors, motivations and drivers
- Analyze the user journey with pain points and expectations
- Confirm which features have real relevance on user requirements and which don’t
Now that you understand the needs of the audience, it’s time to use technology to improve their experience. Create and understand processes to give shape to your digital business strategy.
- Review existing architecture of platforms and technologies so that you not only understand your existing capabilities, but also the bigger picture on how to expand on them
- Prioritize what technology should be implemented first based on business objectives, development time and importance of target segments
- Address other areas of the business that may have been put on the backburner during the digital initiative, such as logistics, training or change management
- It’s important to remember that a digital strategy is part of a wider, singular strategy that encompasses an entire business, so all moving parts must be considered when devising your digital business strategy. This will reduce friction on deployment and execution, while ensuring all aspects of the business are fully informed.
Making it happen
If the first two steps are undertaken successfully, then the execution of your digital business strategy should be simple. The outcome could be a physical product that is part of your digital business strategy, or it could be a complete digital transformation, improving agility across your entire enterprise.
If you need assistance in developing your customer-centric digital business strategy or moving toward digital transformation, Tech Data has decades of digital technology experience across multiple industries.
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