4 Strategic Questions To Ask Before Launching Your Digital Transformation

Digital transformation should be done strategically and not as an impulse. Here are several strategic questions for you to consider before going digital.

Digital transformation is high on executives’ agendas for 2018. Many have started the move and are investing millions of dollars in digitizing their operation. They do so in the name of customer convenience, frictionless interactions and the pursuit of delivering an “Amazon-like” customer experience. News flash: Amazon is not profitable and does not care about profitability. Do you have the same privilege of not being profitable?

If your firm, like most others who are not Amazon, still expects to turn a profit, why then are you undertaking digital transformation? The argument that “everyone else is doing it” is not a good enough answer to why you are spending millions in digital. The fact that your consultants told you to go digital: again, not a good answer.

I am not saying you shouldn’t adopt some digital tools for your business. I am saying you need to do it strategically and not as an impulse. Here are several strategic questions for you to consider before going digital.

1. What is the real intention: cost or value? Are you trying to reduce costs or do you seek to add value for customers? If you seek to reduce costs, be ready to reduce prices. Customers are not stupid and will expect that, in exchange for doing all the work, they will get to keep the lion’s share of the margins (remember Amazon margins? You can hardly see them with a magnifying glass). Be ready for the real impact of your digital transformation, not only on your cost structure, but on your profits as well.

“Technology is what we do with it and how we use it. Use it strategically with a customer context, and it will amplify loyalty.”

2. What is the role of the human experience in your new digital experience? Are you planning to replace people, or are you planning to amplify the human experience? This is usually a neglected question. Most companies do not have a holistic view of digital and human experiences. The answer should be “both.” You will need to design for it, as it will not happen by itself. Your employees and customers need to understand how digital fits within the bigger context and what their role is alongside the digital channels.


Join us in New York this December for the 2018 CEO2CEO Summit. LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman and his co-author Chris Yeh will be talking about their new book on mastering scale. 

Register today!


3. What do your customers think about digital? Do all your customers share that view? Catch yourself next time you are saying “this is the future and what millennials want” (your consultants really got to you.) Our client work has uncovered that digital channels may erode the value customers place on brands leading to reduced brand loyalty. Find out what will create value to your customers in the context of them adapting to your new digital platform.

4. What differentiates your business? If all organizations transform their business to become digital, will you become just like your competitors? If so, what is your next strategic differentiation? What is your next innovation? What are the reasons customers will come to you and not to your smallest competitor who also has an app? This question should not be ignored as it goes to the core of your business and customer relationships.

Digital transformation without clear answers to the above questions is nothing short of self commoditization. You risk driving your business to a place where customers fail to see the value you deliver and have no reason to prefer your brand, pay premium price, advocate to others or come back for more. Digital is a technology, a tool. And as a smart client once told me, “even a fool with a tool is just a fool.” Let us not make the same mistake again that many made in the past, believing that technology will save our businesses. Technology is what we do with it and how we use it. Use it strategically with a customer context, and it will amplify loyalty. Rush into it without any strategic planning and find yourself poorer in both budget and profits.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.