Do we need a Digital Strategy?

Do We Need a Digital Strategy?

In both the public and private sector, business managers are grappling with the question “Do we need a Digital Strategy?”. Answers vary from business to business but confusion exists if the question is never asked.

In this world of rapid change, brought about by global digitisation, why would any organisation not have strategic plans to support this digital evolution? Does this mean you need a Digital Strategy or not? Well that depends!

It is good practice to understand the current state before a business can explore the value of any change. When considering new digital initiatives it is vital to carry out a base-line study which highlights your businesses digital readiness. Low levels of digital maturity in a specific area require more attention and planning than an extension of an existing digital capability. Having said that, in some cases the opposite may also be true. The base-line study will help with these deliberations, potentially inform your options going forward and is an important theme of a Digital Strategy.

A clear understanding of the wider business context will inform any activity around digitisation. It will also support the creation of a Digital Strategy. This should expose all internal and external trends for your business . It will provide a clearer picture for aligning ICT and Business Strategies. This too is an important theme within a Digital Strategy.

Developing a Digital Strategy

Like any other strategy, a proposed future state is a key theme to a well thought out Digital Strategy. The advantage is that a future state will increasingly bind the goals of both ICT and Business Strategies together. They may not be viable on their own.

Explore agile approaches to strategy design and execution to deliver strategic outcomes in conjunction with a Digital Strategy. Delivering digital change will benefit when constrained by calendar-based planning. Taking on a more agile approach will allow new capability to be aligned to the wider business context.

A Digital Strategy is much wider than ICT as it involves the business as a whole. Fully engaged business users in the development and use of a Digital Strategy.

At a time when businesses are experiencing huge changes through the evolution of digital capability it is sensible to question whether existing strategic plans and delivery processes are fit-for-purpose.  The Digital Strategy themes outlined above are key components of an overall business strategy. The themes are valuable when determining the need for an independent Digital Strategy or changes to internal strategies.

By Adrian Leadbeater, Director and digital strategist

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