Digital strategies change companies from the hunted into the hunter. They merge business and IT. But they are only successful if they are understood and shaped by the people in the company.
Digitization remains at the top of the management agenda. Nevertheless, depending on the industry, up to 50 percent of companies do not yet have a digital strategy. Even more have problems implementing a digital strategy.
The difficulties often begin with the fact that it is not clear what a digital strategy is. It is often misunderstood as a kind of IT strategy. This is a fallacy, because digitisation primarily affects business - IT is "only" a means to an end. While an IT strategy provides the IT's answers to business requirements, a digital strategy provides the business's answers to digitisation - and can therefore be matched more to business strategies. The assumption is that digital strategies, business strategies and IT strategies will increasingly merge in the future, as hardly any business will not be digital one day.
A digital strategy therefore shows how a company should behave in the context of digitisation. To a certain extent, it serves as a compass on the road to the digital future. Digitalisation means nothing more (and nothing less) than the complete orientation of a company towards the digital customer under the massive use of new technologies. And not just of parts of the company, but of the entire company - in the final analysis, these are all the people in a company.
The Art of the One Page Strategy
For a digital strategy to be successful, it must first and foremost be understood by the people in a company. A strategy should answer the question of what the company wants to achieve in the context of digitisation. It is worthwhile to break down the essential contents on an A4 page. A digital strategy designed in this way can easily be circulated as a poster, handout or screensaver. Compared to a 400-page paper, it then runs a lower risk of getting dusty in a drawer and being passed by unnoticed by the employees.
In addition to getting your employees into the process, it is important that a digital strategy is not heavyweight, i.e. that it already contains its own changeability. After all, digitalisation still means new territory to a large extent. It refuses to set standards or rules. For example, we still do not know conclusively what the new technologies are capable of, in which application areas they create added value or are pointless. Or which disruptive technologies or business models will one day emerge. A digital strategy must be prepared for these external "surprises".
Innovation, agility and use of IT
Changeability also means that a digital strategy must enable innovation. It must empower employees to think and act digitally and find ways to transform business processes and services into the digital world. If you want to focus on the digital customer, you will only succeed if you follow the customer in his behaviour. This of course requires an interest in digital channels on the part of the employees - because they are the way to the customer – as well as agile organisational forms and procedures on the part of the company and especially IT. This agility must be demanded by the digital strategy on the one hand and made possible on the other.