There’s something of the flirtatious lothario about ‘digital’. It’s got all the right intentions but is often a significant disappointment when it comes to results in the boardroom.
We are well aware of digital’s reputation for being superficial and yet we’re intoxicated by its compelling proposition.
And – if you’ll excuse my overextended analogy – tumescent promises of disruption and innovation frequently wilt in the face of the technological and organisational ‘baggage’ that exists in most big businesses.
Nonetheless, the allure of digital is strong. And its certain appeal lies in an ability to provide three key features to any business transformation programme.
- It’s clear that digital affords organisations to move with pace. Digital technology and digital ways of working are inherently quick. A start-up mentality moves rapidly towards delivery of a ‘minimum viable product’. An open, cloud-based approach to software and infrastructure enable fast prototyping and deployment.
- Digital offers flexibility. The iterative nature of agile development methods and the adaptive architecture of digital solutions are deliberately conceived to enable an project to ‘pivot’. Changes in direction are not just accepted, they are expected.
- We recognise digital’s ability to allow an organisation to transform at scale. Digital isn’t just about prototypes. Digital infrastructure is virtual, utility-priced, digital platforms are scalable gateways to crowdsourcing and networked capacity. Through digital organisations can build scale rapidly and easily.
At face value, it’s no wonder that digital is so attractive. Yet – as our research has told us, it is not necessarily a determinant of success with 84% of organisations confessing they could be better exploiting digital.
Rushing straight into a liaison with digital can often lead to heartbreak. Long term fulfilment demands a bit of intelligence.
In my experience, four intelligent elements are the basis of a rewarding relationship with digital:
- ‘Deep thinking’ about the business context will always be the best foundation for any complex programme. Always, always make sure you have a clear understanding of the business goals you are pursuing.
- A commitment to ‘sustained value’ will carry you through even the toughest of times, so make sure you deliver results – however minimally viable – early and keep focusing on building outcomes forever. There is no steady state.
- Rely on ‘networked knowledge’ as you won’t – and shouldn’t pretend to -know it all. The beauty of digital is that is pathologically oriented to collaboration. Rather than try to own every aspect of your programme, build a platform of partners that will enable you to get the best help when you need it.
- Finally, and critically, see your relationship with digital in terms of building a ‘fluid enterprise’ – a venture that is agile, lean and able to adapt to the future demands of business change.
So, don’t flirt with digital. Give it the respect it deserves. Succeed with digital. Intelligently.
What do you think? Leave a reply below or contact me by email.