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A strategic approach to transformation

I’ve just finished reading the MIT/Deloitte research paper on the importance of strategy in the hunt for digital transformation. There’s some really telling data in the report about the state of play in many business today with regards to approaching technology and its implementation.

We strongly believe that businesses will only really succeed if they approach their future development from a holistic standpoint. Digital strategy (or its younger brother, IT strategy) needs to be aligned to an overall business/brand strategy, which might in turn inform marketing strategy, customer acquisition/retention strategy, recruitment strategy and many more internal strategies that a business should be considering.

I’ve spoken in the past about the misguided approach of technology led decision making and this report highlights further the need for strategic planning first that can lead to the implementation of technology in a considered way after. As opposed to implementing technology in a rash attempt to modernise a business without any real thought into how best to do it and where it could have the most positive impact.

In the report it mentions the Harvard Business Review article called “IT Doesn’t Matter” from 2003 , where Nicholas Carr argues that the trap to avoid is focusing on technology as an end in itself. Instead, technology should be a means to strategically potent ends.

It seems, given the data in the report, that the challenge still for many businesses is that they don’t know where to start with writing a digital strategy due to a lack of digital skills within the senior levels of their management team. Instead, many businesses find themselves either doing nothing, or even worse investing significant amounts of funds into projects that are led by technology rather than strategy in an attempt to transform their business.

Here at Beautiful Everything we use Experience Design to help us look at the bigger picture of how customers or users (as often called when talking about technology) interact with brands, products and services. This helps us identify where we can improve customer experiences most effectively, which in turn is the foundation for developing a strategic approach to addressing business objectives in a customer focussed way. This can, by design, lead to the implementation of technology and potentially digital transformation for businesses in a strategically defined way.

Let’s hope that if/when this report is published again in 5 years time that we’ve seen a significant improvement in the strategic implementation of technology and a knock-on effect in improved customer experiences with brands and services in line with this.