A Digital Quick-Start Guide

A black and white image of a piece of coal next to a diamond

What is the next big thing? Nobody really knows. Nevertheless, today’s companies are constantly under pressure to discover it. The digital space, of course, is rife with magic bullets to help them easily achieve success—or so it would seem.

If truth be told, chasing the digital holy grail can jeopardize management focus on what’s really important—digital transformation.

Simply put, you can find whole books on how companies can accelerate digital transformation. But before you start planning, you should make one simple commitment: build digital into every project.

To help you do this, here is a short quick-start guide. Every opportunity to capture the creative power of digital technologies should stand up to the following four realities of competing in a digital world.

  1. Customer experience is value: In the digital era, products and services are no longer effective for gaining and retaining customers. Customer experience is vital. Customers need control over a seamless link of the physical and digital worlds. Empathy, deep contextual appreciation, and co-creation are essential factors in achieving that connection.
  2. Customers are moving targets: Customer attention in the digital world is short-lived. Brand loyalty is fragile. New mobile and social experiences are introduced at fleeting Internet speed. Customers switching between competing value propositions is the rule, rather than the exception. Data and analytics allow companies to successfully staple themselves to their customer’s digital self to stay relevant and appealing.
  3. Business ecosystems co-create value: No one organization possesses all the data, digital skills, and capabilities to win over today’s demanding and dynamic digital customer. Therefore, ecosystem competition is the new standard. Businesses partner with each other by bringing their respective strengths together to grow the pie, not just split it.
  4. Digital platforms boost value co-creation: Your digital innovation strength is limited by your ability to combine your digital assets with those of others. Today’s most valuable and successful business ecosystems are enabled by digital platforms. Carefully managed architectures of reusable digital assets can empower you to capture opportunities faster than your competitors.

All four of these factors are effectively addressed by big-bang disruptors when they deploy digital technologies. For a solid competitive edge in the digital world, you need to do the same.

Use these four guidelines as your yardstick the next time you appraise an innovative idea or assess a project proposal. Challenge your project teams to achieve all four goals.

Consistent and systematic digital transformation is the key to compete significantly in the digital world. To succeed, you need to learn and build digital capabilities progressively, project by project.