Posted: Wed 17th May 2023
Over the last two decades, significant investments and changes in technology and digital have had a great impact on businesses of all sizes.
But in recent years, the pandemic has further accelerated this transformation, creating both opportunities for small businesses to compete in wider markets, and challenges in the form of information management and security.
Here, I explore what businesses can do to achieve returns and realise benefits from investments in technology and digital, and provide a brief checklist you can work through to digitally future-proof your business.
You're almost certainly doing some of this already, but it's always useful to have another take on digital strategy.
A step-by-step guide to investing in digital
Here's what to do.
Assess the current state of your business: That includes your people and your processes.
Set a vision for the digital enterprise: Consider how digital can make that relevant and sustainable difference for your customers and employees.
Define your digital goals: Is it to optimise your business and make it as efficient as possible, or to transform it?
Commit to digital throughout the entire business: The true benefits of digital occur when you adopt it comprehensively.
Identify and support a digital champion: Choose someone with energy, enthusiasm and authority.
Put the right people in the right places: Allow the people who can make a difference to operate where you need a difference to be made.
Choose a trusted adviser: Technology vendors can be very helpful, but look for independent advice that can point out the hurdles and the pitfalls of the tools and solutions you might be considering.
Develop a roadmap: Set out the individual next steps and how you'll gain forward momentum.
Involve all stakeholders early: The last to arrive are often those who object the strongest.
Address and manage the consequences of change: Recognise that not everyone will see the benefits immediately, and not everyone will be flexible and ready to change.
Set up an agile governance mindset: Move away from centralised decision-making and give individual employees and teams the power and autonomy to make decisions based on their expertise and needs.
Design the best possible solution and select the right technologies: It goes without saying that there isn't one solution that suits all businesses, so choose wisely.
Develop a business-led data-driven culture: Having insights based on data allows you to make informed decisions. Digital helps you collect, analyse and interpret data more effectively.
Monitor your progress: And if you need to, make adjustments.