5 Ways To Implement Digital Strategies - Ibrands Digital

5 Ways To Implement Digital Strategies

All of us are mindful of the importance of online presence in the digital world. However, it is upsetting to see many businesses today putting minimal effort to keep up with it. We should be making changes to keep up with the digital times in order to take the lead on our competitors. To capitalise on current trends, a good digital strategy is the only way to advance.

So, what is a digital strategy?

A digital strategy is a written plan that states your online marketing goals and helps you assign the right technology and processes in place to achieve these goals.

This usually includes changes to business models, as new technology makes it possible for innovative companies to provide services that were not previously possible.

A digital strategy can take many shapes and varies depending on the department of the company. For instance, the marketing department implements digital marketing strategy such as social media and websites. On the other hand, the finance side would use online tools such as cloud-based accounting, and the business development segment could use BI Analytics for data management.

With everything said, aligning a digital plan with your company’s current business plan can be challenging. It might be the very reason that companies do not meet their targets or even come close to it.

Therefore, in order to achieve successful digital transformation, we need a strong foundation in smart digital strategy. Similar to traditional business strategies, capital need to be invested wisely to maximise growth, profit and gain competitive advantage over their rivals.

Let us jump straight into the 5 steps we at ibrands use as a guide to implement our digital strategies in an orderly manner.

A brief overview of the Five Rules of Digital Strategy.
Source: bcg.com

1.Assess the strategic impact of the digital opportunities

An excellent digital strategy begins with a thorough understanding of the competition in the business environment and how it might possibly change. This is due to the ever-changing nature of technologies which will directly reshape a business’ economics. Thus, we need to tread carefully in order to avoid implications from happening in our business.

What advantages can digital bring? Who can benefit from
these digital technologies?

Digital can bring varying benefit depending on the industry and their roles.

For instance, it allows companies to operate smaller and more mobile facilities within a closer range to their customers, making it possible to quickly deliver products as travel time has significantly decreased. Customisation is also easy as customers’ demands can be tailored and fulfilled accurately without having to order massive amounts previously just to save on delivery fees.

Another example would be digital house rental platforms such as Airbnb. It is borderless and global, offering houses for rents to anyone with access to a smart phone. Without this service, it would be such a hassle to look for places to rent. Moreover, digital services depend heavily on data that would help a business to acquire more loyal customers. For instance, an airline company would be considered reliable if their downtime was reduced from little to none. Digital software can help achieve that through predictive maintenance with no chances of breakdown.

The key to this step is to open our minds to the strategic possibilities and risks that digital can bring. Ask yourself: Which technologies are suitable and what are the costs? Would it be required in the future? Does it bring competitor leverage to your company?

2.Set your digital ambition high

In order to excel in this digital era, organizations must start with big plans. There really is not much point if we do not aim high to achieve those changes, whether it is seeking to strengthen a company’s position in the industry or to create new opportunities. The best digital strategies are winner-takes-all situations that bring quick-thinking businesses to a whole new level over their competitors. Even smart followers who trail closely behind can benefit greatly.

Kodak invented digital photography. However, according to startuptalky.com, the ignorance of new technology and not adapting to changing market needs initiated Kodak’s downfall. Kodak invested its funds in acquiring many small companies, depleting the money it could have used to promote the sales of digital cameras. Digital strategies most likely fail because of too little ambition rather than too much.

A high ambition surely brings positive results. For instance, we all know the coffee company Starbucks. They were said to be lagging behind on sales but quickly embraced digital innovations. Thankfully, they made up for sales by developing a mobile payment app and launching digital loyalty programs. It was a new and innovative way for customers to order and pay for their coffee, resulting in a 200% increase in storewide sales.

A quick overview of the functions on the Starbucks app.
Source: indigo9digital

3.Place big bets

Digital strategy requires us to place big bets. Why so? It is bad strategy to allocate our resources to many methods, being unable to make any one of them fruitful.

With that said, focusing on two or three valuable strategies delivers the best straight-forward results. There can be two initiatives, long-term and short-term. The short-term strategies can be AI-driven pricing and promotion and digitally driven cost reduction that will free up capital and allow resources to be allocated for strategies down the road. On the other hand, long-term strategies are high-impact and need to be planned and executed with caution.

Consider the Domino’s Pizza chain. Digital methods do not replace the pizzas sold; however it can improve the speed and convenience for the customers. The mobile application released by the company simplifies the steps for ordering and also in tracking the progress of the pizza. Customers have given positive feedbacks and sales subsequently increased.

To put it in perspective, Domino’s and Google both went public in 2004 and yet if you had invested one ringgit in both companies, you would have greater returns with Domino’s.

Domino’s launches ‘Zero Click’ pizza ordering app.
Source: gadgets360

A customer-focused point of view that focuses on value creation and competitive advantage is crucial to identifying the right bets. Ask yourself this: amongst all the digital strategies available out there, which are unique to you and which have the greatest digital potential?

4.Build new digitally capable workforce

An ambitious digital strategy needs new capable manpower. It is vital that a company builds new strategic workforce to complement the traditional ways. The coordination between the new and the old must be integrated smoothly to avoid conflicts. Moreover, digital talent is scarce in the market. If possible, we should try incorporating our existing talents with digital knowledge. Then with the help of both new and existing forces, resources can be shared across business divisions and regions.

Develop a worker that is not bound to a fixed role, but able to evolve with the changing needs and fast-moving pace of the digital world. Expose your workforce to emerging digital initiatives to improve their experience and digital maturity. It can be done by establishing a “digital” culture backed by a successful digital strategy.

Only then can your company attract talents, particularly millennials and Gen Z who are fluent in the digital culture. These people are drawn to opportunities for autonomy and creativity. Due to the organization with less structure and more self-governing, workers become more agile. This results in the company achieving abundant milestones through amazing results being even faster than a traditional organization.

5.Manage transformation actively

In terms of organizational transformation, luckily the digital transformation does not require a company to rewrite the entire rule book. Nonetheless, there are issues that require some attention. A particular one would be the rate of technologies that one has used for their industry are evolving.

Thus, this brings to surface of how often should a company revisit the strategies implemented to refresh the transformation plan.

Everywhere we look, we see large, successful companies facing intense pressure from newer, smaller, faster-moving companies that threaten to disrupt their industries. Across the business landscape, speed is becoming more important than size, and the basis of competition is shifting from scale to pace or tempo. Technological progress can be upwards or discontinuous, based on trends. Therefore, a plan three years ahead will only cause failure during execution. Technologies are fast-moving and unpredictable and an active strategic alignment is much needed from above.

This brings us to the critical player in organizational transformation. The strong centre is where it all happens, starting off with the chief digital transformation officer. He should be in charge of ensuring process standardization, data management and talent acquisition. Only then can a company stay afloat and keep up the momentum against milestones and goals while occasionally signalling when it is time to adjust course.  

It is notable that not all digital transformations succeed. However, those that do reflect a robust digital strategy follow the five methods that we have just described. They will ensure that you get the most out of your people and digital investments by aligning them with your company goals and at the same time, driving competitive advantage and attaining superior results.

Here at ibrands, we can help you with digital strategies tailored to your company’s needs. We are a reliable and reputable agency based in Penang.