How Does Your Digital Business Journey Compare to Your Peers?
Driven by ever-accelerating market dynamics and a need to remain relevant, nearly every business has begun their digital journey. But you might be wondering how you compare with your peers—businesses of the same sector or same size. Do you lead or lag when compared to others? What does that standing mean for your competitive position and future? These are benchmarks every business must seriously consider as they invest in technologies to transform and plot the next step on their digital business journey.
How Do You Compare?
What steps have your peers already taken on their path to becoming a digital business? The IDG 2018 State of Digital Business Transformation report surveyed businesses across a broad range of industries, from tech, manufacturing and financial services, to government and nonprofits. Across that broad spectrum, the businesses surveyed had completed these steps on their journey to becoming digital businesses:
- 27% had created a data security/protection strategy
- 24% had assessed IT skills
- 23% had outlined a business case/roadmap for digital strategy
- 22% had assessed technology needs
- 19% had developed a workforce strategy
- 18% had implemented change management
- 17% had formulated a data management strategy
- 15% had determined success metrics
- 14% had developed personas
Given that list, how do you compare? If you work in a competitive sector or a business segment with slim margins, the answer matters more than you think. The success of your digital business transformation could be what creates a competitive edge for your business to differentiate and move ahead in the marketplace.
Like most businesses, you’ve likely explored the use of big data, as well as hybrid and multi-cloud platforms. The committed digital business, however, must move past the exploration phase to evolve and innovate by incorporating data-driven decisions into every aspect of its business. Your next step may be to leverage emerging technology, such as AI, IoT, or software-defined networking (SDN). AI might give you granular insight into why your customers make certain product choices and guidance in how to influence future purchases. IoT can be used to influence capital expense purhcases or to make just-in-time equipment maintenance or replacement decisions. SDN can help your business create agile, adaptable networks that respond more fluidly to market shifts or changes in customer perceptions.
There’s no right or wrong way to plot your digital business journey. Your goal should not be to disrupt your business. Rather, you can aim to create the competitive margins you need to move ahead of your competition and secure your position in the marketplace. That may involve incremental moves that allow your business to build on current successes as you keep moving toward digital transformation.
The Way Forward
How many of the recommended steps has your business already completed? It’s good to note that several of those steps aren’t one-and-done processes. Most, if not all, need to be repeated consistently as part of your overall digital business strategy. Consider these tips as you outline the path for your digital business journey.
- Define Success Metrics. It’s an old business truism: you can only manage what you can measure. If your objective is to improve your team’s digital skills, then you need to know their knowledge baseline. Success will be defined by growing that baseline and strengthening each team member in ways that improve the bottom line. If your goal is better data security, then the metric you may be looking for is fewer attempted breaches, or more staff training about security best practices.
- Regularly Perform IT Skills and Technology Needs Assessments. A one-time appraisal, of team skills or tech capabilities, provides a valuable snapshot. But just one assessment won’t be enough. The speed of business has amplified and, as a result, digital technology evolves quickly. You need to regularly gauge the preparedness of your team and technology to ensure both can adapt rapidly to technical, consumer, and market shifts.
- Make Security a Top Concern. The mature digital business draws data from multiple sources. IoT sensors, mobile devices, third-party vendors—sources far beyond the walls of the enterprise send daily streams of data into your business. This requires a security posture that protects your enterprise from the center to the edge. A digital business will only thrive if it prioritizes the trust of its customers, suppliers, and vendors by keeping their data safe from security threats.
- Stay Agile, Stay Competitive. If you’re committed to success as a digital business, you’ll need an agile network that can adapt to changing demands. The traits of an agile network include the ability to scale up or down as needed, the ability to easily modify course to match the market, and to spin up applications as they are needed. A crucial part of your digital business strategy must be creating an agile network infrastructure.
Are you satisfied with your company’s progress on its digital business journey? Download the CenturyLink eBook, Beyond Transformation: How Data Drives the Digital Business, to plot your own digital business journey.
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