It typically takes about six to eight weeks to create a digital strategy. That means right now is a great time to start thinking about your 2023 strategy.
To help you get started, we’re sharing insight into how to create a digital strategy, key elements to include, how it fits into a larger business strategy, and how to execute it.
How do you create a digital strategy for your business?
Creating a digital strategy involves evaluating where your business is and where you want it to go. Think of it as creating a roadmap: You need to mark “You are Here,” the destination, and the path (or paths) to get from one point to the other.
Once you know where you are, use customer data, emerging trends, and market conditions to identify current gaps and future opportunities. These opportunities and gaps will add clarity to your destination – in other words, shape your goals. They will direct which digital initiatives and capabilities should be a focus for your digital strategy roadmap.
Next, you’ll need to outline the path to get from present to future. That path will include your timeline, key milestones, action steps or growth phases, and the budget and resources you’ll need.
When you’re traveling, it’s important to have a roadmap so you don’t get lost. But sometimes along the way, you need to shift course. As future-looking companies see the need for continual evolution, keep in mind that you may have to map out more than one path.
During this time of digital disruption and transformation, your customer will come to want new features, new technology will emerge, and all sorts of changes will require you to adapt. Your strategy can’t be so set in stone that it’s impossible to evolve. Your business — and your strategy — has to be adaptable, agile, and innovative.
Work to plan out the next two years, knowing you will reevaluate and update the strategy over time. For example, not everything in that second year’s strategic timeline will happen or its timing may shift. The key is looking toward a future with potential opportunities and anticipating change.
Should digital be at the core of your business strategy?
Digital transformation strategy absolutely involves digital. But digital is only one part of it. These days, strategy is about transformation. It’s about staying relevant – and that requires change, not for the sake of change, but when and how it makes sense for your specific business.
Staying relevant involves listening to your customers and keeping up with trends. It also means applying a strategic lens to ensure you’re adopting those trends only if they are right for your business.
So what does this mean when it comes to digital-first strategy? Should digital be at the core of your business strategy? It should be a part of it, even a primary or overarching part of it — but at its core, your business strategy should be focused on transformation and agility.
What are the most important elements of a digital strategy?
Let’s take a closer look at the key pillars of digital strategy. Start with your goal — the destination on your roadmap. This is a business goal, but it also needs to be customer-centric.
Consider your customer, their needs, and their experience. Use the answers to these questions to shape the goals of your digital experience strategy:
- What does your customer want and need?
- In the eyes of your customer, how will you differentiate yourself among competitive options?
- What changes would improve their user experience?
Then, use a broad strategic lens and a holistic approach to map out the path or paths to get to your goals. Consider this the foundation of your strategy.
- Technology: Where are the gaps in your current technology? What types of technology improvements or systems do you need to get to your goals? Are you gathering data and using analytics to help drive your business decisions?
- People: What skills do your team members have and what areas do they need to develop? Be sure to offer training and professional development opportunities, ongoing communication, and a clear career path. To deliver and execute your strategies, people are an essential resource.
- Processes: What internal processes are working? Which processes can be more efficient or integrated? Where can teams work together more effectively or collaboratively?
- Costs: How much and where should you invest to be set up for success and improve the customer experience? Use the information you have to make data-driven decisions about strategic investments in technology, talent, and resources.
Once you have this foundation in place and set a corresponding timeline, you can move into execution. It’s okay to start small so you can learn from mistakes, leverage data to improve, and begin generating revenue sooner. Enlisting a partner in digital strategy services can also provide a third-party expert perspective and support for implementation and execution.
But at the heart of it, to effectively execute a digital strategy, your business needs to promote external and internal adoption with a clear shared vision, open communication, and adequate resources.
You can set all the goals, build all the processes, and implement all technology, but you need your customers and your teams — the people — to be on board with your transformation in order to make things happen. Doing the work to nurture a collaborative mindset and an innovative culture within your organization will pay off.
Today is your starting point. It’s time to envision a bright future for your business and the strategic transformation that will get you there.
If you’re looking for more guidance as you create your digital strategy, contact an Avionos digital transformation team member or download our “Continuous Evolution: The New Normal” white paper.