In this fast-changing environment, it is important that companies approach digital integration in the right order: first, designing company’s digital road-map; second, design company’s digital capabilities; and thirdly, building a right digital strategy for the company. Digital investments typically drive a wide range of projects ranging from leveraging social media networks internally or externally to digitizing processes or even to creating new digital services for customers.
Perhaps because these investments are spread out across projects, executives report having a hard time measuring the results. However, the main reason is almost always a lack of perspective on how to progressively manage digital integration over time. In the interactions with C-level executives, the first question is: what are the best ways to build successful digital strategies and leverage social media channels?
Digital strategy for Success
Step 1: Designing the Company’s Digital Road-map
Senior Management should encourage their team to engage themselves in digital initiatives for their company. Ultimately they should be aware of the digital projects that were initiated. Without a method to systematically track their digital efforts, companies cannot learn from past mistakes or successes and forge best practices. As a result, most companies turn “blind” and are uncertain in the digital landscape. To overcome such barriers companies need first to build their digital road-map to find digital success. The specifics of such road-map can take many forms and are unique to each company, as it should blend as closely as possible with the company’s culture and objectives. With such a toolkit under their belts, companies prove to be able to learn much faster from their mistakes and leverage their own successes in the digital race with their competitors.
Step 2: Design the Company’s Digital Capabilities
Once the digital road-map is built and before starting to think about building one’s own digital strategy, a second question should emerge: does the company know what relevant stakeholders do in the digital landscape (e.g., consumers’ conversations around the company’s product, competitors’ presence on social media, and media coverage on topics relevant to the company’s industry)? Very often, companies lack such knowledge or have not properly integrated their listening capabilities. Here companies need to design understand their capabilities in the digital space.
Developing a company’s capabilities involves thinking about what sources might be most relevant for their business goals (e.g., social media networks, forums, media mentions, competitors’ websites, and government platforms) and ways in which they can dynamically diffuse this information into their company’s command centers. Too often, companies outsource these questions and severely limit how they can leverage these new sources of information.
Step 3: Building the Company’s Digital Strategy
Once the digital road-map is designed and assessment of digital capabilities are done, companies should move forward to design their digital strategy. Their experience from past campaigns or initiatives, and the capabilities gathered represent a rich set of resources that guide executives in their strategy design and help to avoid mistakes of the past. It is very important to clearly design the set of desired objectives before choosing from the digital toolkit (e.g., community strategy, social network creation; digitization of products and services) that will most likely respond to the problem at hand, yield significant competitive advantages, and ensure companies’ relevance in the digital space.
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