Digital strategy is defined as a company’s strategic plan that focuses on the application of digital technologies. It is part of the overall business strategy. The goal is to increase the company’s success using digital technologies and to develop new business opportunities.
As a company, it is not enough to simply acquire new digital technologies and thus respond to digitalization. An integration of all existing digital technologies should be structured and planned through a digital strategy. This can develop a long-term plan and ensure that the company remains competitive. Digital technologies should support the company’s goals and success and can be used in different areas of the company, such as marketing or sales. To develop a digital strategy, certain points should be considered. The digital strategy will therefore become increasingly important in the future, as most companies integrate digital technologies into their business models. These are listed in more detail below, along with the goals and benefits of a digital strategy.
Goals and benefits of a digital strategy
Developing a digital strategy first requires courage and perseverance, as digital technologies are constantly evolving. Employees in management positions of the individual company divisions should continuously observe the developments and evaluate whether it would make sense to use them. The digital strategy is then a joint solution of all company divisions to use digital technologies adequately and at the same time to consider the individual stakeholder interests.
Companies with a digital strategy ensure that they remain competitive and that business models are adapted according to dynamic market conditions and changing customer needs. The digital strategy is an essential part of the successful digital transformation of modern companies. On the marketing side, it also puts a focus on customer retention and gaining new customers with the help of digital technologies. Companies can enter customer dialogue more easily and respond to needs in a targeted manner.
A digital strategy should address the following areas in the company and work out how digital technologies can be used effectively:
- Organization of internal processes
- Communication with customers, measures for customer loyalty
- Digital expansion of existing products
- Focus on new, digital business ideas
How a digital strategy works: Develop a digital vision
Developing a digital strategy does not work ad hoc. Companies should push through the necessary considerations and steps to develop a digital strategy and establish it in the long term. The following elements and measures should be considered:
The acquisition of new technologies alone does not result in a successful digital strategy. It is much more important for a company to define a clear vision for the coming years. This provides orientation in the change phase and supports employees in decision-making.
To develop the digital vision, certain key questions should be addressed, and concrete milestones defined:
- What makes the company unique? What is the company’s unique selling proposition?
- What is the core competence?
- Which digital technologies can underline this?
- What are potentials that can be used and developed?
- What are possible hurdles? How can they be removed?
Define a clear strategic orientation
After a digital vision is developed, the digital strategy serves as a precise plan on how goals can be achieved. Digital technologies are an integral part of this. For a better organization, it is a good idea to define a strategic roadmap for the medium term.
On this roadmap, intermediate steps and stages are defined to achieve the set goal in the long term. It is important that all employees are involved from the beginning and that it is clear what the common vision and digital strategy is. The future changes should be understandable and comprehensible – in this way, the company ensures with clear communication that employees can ambitiously pursue the strategy and achieve the goals together. The following questions can help with strategic orientation:
- Will the turnover be generated with the same product/service in the future?
- Does the business model need to be adapted? How can it be changed?
- Do the employees fit the strategy? How does dynamism enter the company?
- How do the IT and infrastructure have to be adapted? What does the company need to invest?
Anchor digitalization in the investment policy and adapt the working environment.
Change processes, especially in relation to new digital technologies, cost money. Companies should therefore consider budget increases for new digital technologies in their investment plans. It may also be necessary to restructure the budget in favor of the digital strategy.
Restructuring in terms of working methods and communication within a company can be achieved with the help of digital technologies. Cloud solutions support this without the technical infrastructure already having to be completely set up. Since work processes are also becoming increasingly mobile and teams can work virtually, companies should enable digital workplaces.
In addition to technical innovations, it is important to establish a culture of innovation and continuously train employees so that the implementation of a digital strategy can be made possible. The digital world of work is fast-moving and new qualifications are constantly required. Companies should offer further training in various digital areas. In the best case, the newly acquired knowledge is directly applied and deepened in concrete, practical projects.
To establish a high willingness to change in the company and among employees, the necessity of change for the future of the company should be communicated and emphasized. This promotes the acceptance and commitment of the employees.
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