Your digital business strategy: BORING! Or not?
By Thijs Bakker & Ruud Boot
In a world where virtually, every organization is increasingly dependent on its information provision, it is essential to dedicate focused attention to digitization and capture it in a plan. However, many organizations shy away from it, haunted by a specter from the past: the IT strategy - thick, abstract language, unclearly formulated, and lacking a strong connection to the core activities of people within the organization.
This creates a strange paradox. Despite the common lack of planning, in many conversations with our clients, we rarely encounter anyone who does not recognize the importance of IT: everyone realizes how crucial information provision is (along with the whole stack of technology and business models required to make it work) and the need to draw up a structured plan. A digitalization plan helps identify risks, makes global ideas and goals tangible, and enables everyone to align their efforts.
Still no digital business strategy
So why do organizations hesitate? The connection with "the business" is a crucial factor, and in practice, that connection proves to be challenging. The primary focus is improving the organization's results, both in its core and supporting processes, for the people working there, for customers, suppliers, and partners: for "the business." Whether it is public, private, non-profit, or anything else, digital tools can be supportive, leading, or even transformative, but they always serve the business. How do you pragmatically bring this together? Isn't a Digital Business Strategy just another cumbersome instrument, old wine in new bottles?
When formulating a Digital Business Strategy, it is important to involve the right sponsor. Given the essential nature of digital tools for an organization, this is often the (departmental) director, CIO, or CTO. Individuals with such responsibilities want and need to look ahead - to their external environment, their own organization, the business processes, the culture, and the initiatives they must take to bring about change. Because when we talk about new digital tools, we are talking about change: new ways of working, different skills, a new ecosystem of suppliers and partnerships. This importance justifies a strategy built on a thoughtful approach, with solid knowledge and a cohesive, communicable end product.
So, what are we going to do?
For Highberg, in the Digital Business Strategy, the answer to the question "what are we going to do" is always crucial. A plan without concrete and understandable actions lacks authority and does not lead to structural change. To avoid the specter from the past, a "light" approach is necessary, especially as an initial step. To achieve these goals, we have developed the quick scan for the Digital Business Strategy. The client's questions take center stage, and the approach focuses on co-production, with an online survey among employees forming the core. The scan's results provide insights into the organization's digitalization needs. The end product further substantiates and specifies the opportunities, requirements, and risks. It is NOT BORING but concise and impactful, intellectually stimulating, and inspiring.
Is your organization ready for a new Digital Business Strategy, and would you like to discuss it further with us? We would be delighted to have a non-binding conversation. Please contact us or reach out to Wilbert Enserink.