Forrester: Six Steps To Become A Digital Business

Disruption and digital business Forrester

The bumpy road to becoming a digital business is one where big data, social, marketing automation, mobile, cloud computing and the App economy all come together to help companies bring new products, innovations and services to the market and get closer to their targeted customers base. The C-Suite historically has been guilty of not paying serious attention to digital as a central part of their business. The fact is, many customers, products, and competitors are fundamentally digital. Here are some shocking stats: while 74% of business executives say their company has a digital strategy, only 16% believe that their company has the skills and capabilities to execute on that strategy.

A video with Forrester Analyst Nigel Fenwick explains what you need to become a digital business: Do you have the tools to execute a digital business strategy?

How well one can execute a digital strategy depends on mindset. Adrian Slykotzky senior partner of Mercer Management Consulting and co-author of How Digital Is Your Business says the path to becoming a digital business is not just about technology.

“Many senior executives equate “going digital” with specific phenomena such as the advent of the personal computer, the proliferation of e-mail, the growth of enterprise resource planning systems, or the popularity of the Internet. But to think of digital business design as the sum total of the high-tech innovations multiplying around us is a fatally incomplete view. The discipline of digital business design is about serving customers, creating unique value propositions, leveraging talent, achieving order-of-magnitude improvements in productivity, and increasing and protecting profits.”

Forrester says, that in order to become a digital business you must learn to think as your customers. Many organisations are now finding out the hard way, that their sales people will be the last port of call for customers in the buying cycle. These same customers will assemble solutions to their problems via a collection of instantly available digital products and services all drawn from suppliers, partners,digital disrupters other customers and competitors. It is easy for them to do this because we live in a world which Forrester terms ‘a dynamic ecosystem of value‘. This fact alone has changed the way traditional sales operates.

“A dynamic ecosystem of value is made up of digitally connected products and services that combine to meet customer needs, delivering more value than the sum of their parts”.

While many firms by now, have developed a mobile app to accompany their website, senior management may be fooled into thinking that they’ve gone digital. The reality is if the App is actually a success commercially, then all the company has really achieved is bolting on another promotional product. If as a company you are serious about being a proper digital business, you must go further by integrating the two main ingredients of digital strategy which are the:

  •  digital customer experience
  •  digital operational excellence.

So the message from Forrester, is instead of executives continuing to treat digital as a mere channel, they should focus on delivering digitally enhanced experiences that add value in the context of the customer’s needs. To do this means implementing these six Steps, in order to become a Digital Business:

  1. Map experiences within each customer’s ecosystem of value
  2. Digitize products and services to enhance the ecosystem of value
  3. Create trusted machines to automate value creation
  4. Source enhanced operational capabilities within your ecosystem
  5. Drive rapid customer-centric collaboration and innovation
  6. Digitize for agility over efficiency

Image credit/source via Forrester