Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Stepping Up to Real Digital

It's time that organizations step it up to digital in ways that help everybody win. What I see, out there, is a goodly number of organizations going mobile and declaring victory without looking at the real journey they put their customers, employees and partners through. What I see is the sharpening of internal organization efficiencies for the short term. While these things are all digital baby steps, I'm not seeing people racing to digital in a balanced way. Yes most organizations are increasing productivity and increasing revenues, but few are leveraging digital in a creative and balanced manner. Let's look at the three giant steps that organizations can take to step it up.



Most organizations are stuck in incremental mode leveraging low hanging digital capabilities, while increasing profitability to keep their CEOs and boards off their back. We know digital works, it's time to commit to digital as a business / IT team. Traditional processes and applications are aimed at inward productivity at the expense of customers and strategic advantage. Most organizations are looking at tactical "ME WIN; YOU LOSE" approaches. It is time for  for everybody to win something. If you doubt me, call up one of your favorite utility companies and ask for something other than making a payment online and to visit their web site to defer people costs. When you get to their web site, it's not optimized for real customer journeys. There is basic decision organizations have to make. "Do we shoot for a new business model or do we incrementally get to a more balanced approach?"

Competitive Advantage: (Committed Digital) 

This is a "shoot for the moon" approach that basically causes a significant shift in values, goals and competencies that considers change as a fact of life. There is a deep analysis on new business models and/or radical ways of supporting the existing business model. It is focused on value to the customer, employee and partners while value to the organization builds slowly over time. At the same time care is taken to plan for future change and scenarios that would cause changes in goals or behaviors of people, processes and machines. Most organizations don't start here, but end up here evenetually.

Try Balance First: (Balanced Digital)

This is more incremental, but not easy approach that interjects outward value and digital capability into processes. This delivers happier customers, employees and partners that considers each parties journey and optimizes on the intersections and touchpoints of all participants. There is no advantage to one party over the other. It causes the internal organizational model to change to serve the customers goals along with the organizations goals in a balanced fashion. This is a huge shift in mentality that can in turn add digital to enhnace the experience for real instead of paving over existing cowpaths. This approach sets the table for natural set of steps to competitive advantage and strategic advantage leveraging business and digital change. This is not a bandaide approach to digital; it is a planned approach.

Keep Optimizing: (Bandaid Digital)

Organizations that are run by "bean counters", old school CIOs and lawyers will try to stay put and outflank their customers and competition through savvy internal optimization. This is a bet that says incremental improvement of existing products and services leads to survival over the long term expecting to evolve to something better.  Digitial is used as a bandaide in this approach. This is a very inward facing approach that leads to exposure to competitors with new business models. The optimized and abused will revolt when given a chance.

Net; Net:

No organization can sit still. It's a matter of picking a proper target and making smart adjustments. Stepping up to digital is a reason to become more outwards focused and strategically agile. Digital Business Platforms (DBP) are ideal for supporting incremental digital apporaches that focus on agile adaptation to balanced internal and external goals.