Last week, Hugo and myself were atTheNextWeb (TNW)Europe conference. Ekipa had a stand there so the first day we were pretty busy (even CNBC visited us!!!). The second day however, we had a little bit more time to look around. Honestly, there were not so many smashing presentations but one drew my attention. It was by Martin Gill fromForrester ondigital transformation. Although I am not a big fan of big research firms’ output, this one provided some interesting insights (and in turn some food for thought for me).
Some key data points
1) 39% of CEOs set (their companies) digital strategy – that means they take this responsibility themselves and do not fully delegate to CDOs. Funny, many (like probably 61% of the rest) ‘outsource’ digital to their CDOs or even someone else
2) Only 21% of execs think their companies’ digital strategy is clear.
This is appalling, even stronger, this is shocking! It basically boils down to nearly 80% of execs throwing buzzwords (like ‘digital’) without understanding what these mean! Yes, I repeat, 80% of highly-paid, well-educated and very intelligent people are digital-blind.
Interestingly, Martin mentioned the following: ‘Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination’. So, all these top MBAs’ (this 80% of execs) knowledge is becoming rather useless (and I admit it too, I am an MBA). The world where you set clear objectives, set out a strategic plan and execute is gone and ain’t coming back. The target is moving, you may have 1M Twitter followers in 2 years but what if another Twitter comes in 12 months, your goal may become irrelevant. And will these Twitter followers have the same value as they have now?
OK, let’s put this aside, as this is just my argument (and shock). However, what does it mean for you? Not only a big corporation but a small and medium business (a gas station, a shop, a boutique consultancy firm …).
1) You must stop being afraid and start thinking about your customer journeys. These are very different nowadays, customer touchpoints become digital (and everything starts here). Customers are only interested in how you can make their lives easier (cheaper, better etc.)
2) The journey is not a destination, it will change, get used to it, this is an opportunity. Move swiftly
3) Make sure marketing and sales occur real time nowadays and they are often viral. E.g. if a customer tanks her car at your gas station and tweets the prices is good and she is happy about it, you just may have won extra 10, maybe 50 customers who saw the tweet without investing anything in marketing. Alternatively, if the check-out line is long and she tweets ‘waiting there already 5 min, not coming here again’ – figure out yourself what the ramifications are (assume she has 20K Twitter followers)
4) Make sure you partner with the right people to support you in your journey. Stick to your core business but your business is becoming digital
5) Make sure you have the right infrastructure to support customer journey – this only sounds big and expensive but it is about having the right tools at the right time (and there are many in the cloud nowadays). Again, your partners will help you here
6) Piggy-back on network effects, use existing ecosystems. In our gas station example, think about joint promotions (like you probably do already) but do this mobile (at the check-out counter)
Needless to say, there are many more factors to consider. The most important thing is that you find a helping hand for this digital journey. It puzzles me if all these executives who admitted strategies are unclear seek help or perhaps they seek help from the wrong people.
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