Digital Approach – Way Ahead

We have been talking about digital journey. Old uncertain approaches won’t deliver; you need absolute clarity about digital’s demands, customer’s digital vision, strong leadership and unparalleled agility. If there is one theme I hear consistently it’s that consumers expect the brands they engage with to provide a flawless digital experience in their interactions. That’s applicable to all type of industry, be it retail, information technology or some other and all has their own way of defining digital experience.

I have witnessed recently few stores in my locality, one was going out of business (Toys”R”Us) and other was heading towards transformation (Target) with new consumer experience. Reason for out of business could be different but mostly, companies born before the digital age must substantially transform in order to remain relevant and which starts from digitally transform small business processes which are key consumer experience.

We know this from experience, on average, resources don’t move between business units in large organizations. And this holds doubly true for digital approach, which demands special attention. Project Managers in many organizations lack clarity on what “digital” means for approach. They underestimate the degree to which digital is disrupting their businesses, accounts and projects. They also overlook the speed with which digital ecosystems are blurring industry boundaries and shifting the competitive balance. What’s more, responding to digital by building new businesses and shifting resources away from old ones can be threatening to individual project managers and executives, who may therefore be slow to embrace the needed change.

In my experience, the only way for leaders to cut through inactivity is to take bold steps to understand below areas-

You should fight resistance to change. You should understand customer’s vision on digital journey through programmatic efforts. You should envisage strong digital approach by inspecting outcome as you go. And you should fight impossibility of knowing- a constant challenge given the simultaneous need to digitize your core and innovate with new business processes.

1. Resistance to change

Many project managers and senior executives aren’t fully fluent in what digital is, much less up to speed on the ways it can change how their businesses operate or the competitive context. That’s challenging. Project managers who aren’t acquainted with digital are much more likely to fall prey to the “shiny object” syndrome: investing in cool digital technologies without a clear understanding of how they will generate value in their own accounts/projects. They also are more likely to make fragmented, overlapping, or sub-scale digital investments; to pursue initiatives in the wrong order; or to skip foundational moves that would enable more advanced ones to pan out. Finally, this lack of grounding slows down the rate at which a business deploys new digital technologies. In an era of powerful first-mover advantages, winners routinely lead the pack in leveraging cutting-edge digital technologies at scale to pull further ahead. Having only a remedial understanding of trends and technologies has become dangerous.