Enhance Your Competitive Advantage With Digital Strategy

April 4, 2016

 

 Get ahead of your competition with a comprehensive overview of your business with digital strategy. Let us show you how to avoid the missteps and how to succeed in your digital transformation efforts.

 

Defining Digital Strategy

Digital strategy appears to be the buzz word today as technology start-ups disrupt existing business models which force companies to re-look at their digital offerings. If you are a taxi company, your business model is being disrupted by Uber and Grab in Singapore. If you are a brick and mortar retailer, you are losing market share to Qoo10 and Lazada.

 

The founders of these digital start-ups are rapidly building up their fortunes at your expense which creates a sense of urgency to embrace the digital game to improve your business competitiveness. While the obvious method would be to create a mobile app to compete with them, this is often not the right strategy to regain your competitive advantage. Wikipedia defined digital strategy as: ‘the process of specifying an organization's vision, goals, opportunities and related activities in order to maximize the business benefits of digital initiatives to the organization’

 

Digital strategy is more than just digital marketing or remarking your work process which is the common understanding of digital strategy. It calls for the transformation of your company in a systematic and gradual pace that is acceptable to both the management and employees.

 

Beware of Siloed Digital Transformation

Ad-hoc purchase of software would not help your company achieve its goals. While that software might have desirable features that helped your competitors to succeed, that might not be the suitable software for your business.

 

Research firm IDC had predicted that 70% of siloed digital transformation project will ultimately fail mainly because the business is not ready to accept such changes.

 

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Source: CXO Weekly

 

The role of a digital strategist is to look at the entire characteristic of your businesses and to plan your digital execution that would ultimately be successful. A digital strategy is a roadmap that contains:

1.Write-up of your unique business process and general business environment

2.SWOT Analysis of your business

3.Desired business outcomes with measurable metrics

4.List of possible software with their capabilities and price to choose the most suitable

5.Staged implementation of initiatives

6.Tracking results and refinement of digital products

 

Prioritizing

Every company has a limited budget and management bandwidth to deal with for their digital transformation project. This would mean that they would have to prioritize on addressing the right concerns. Each of the company would have their primary goal for digital transformation which would have the highest payoff.

 

 

Source: The Economist

 

The Economist did a survey and found out that there are 7 major primary goals for digital initiatives. Your company is unique, and it would have its primary goal for digital transformation. The key initial objective of the digital strategist would be to uncover that primary digital transformation goal for your company.

 

The strategist will discover the correct project that your business should begin on first and also identify the appropriate metrics to measure its success. Our experience with other companies that had not gone through this process is that even if their product implementation was successful, they do not deliver the value expected of them.

 

What they fail to understand is that there might be company specific factors that are blocking the success of the project. They might have hired the best digital marketing platform which resulted in soaring sales. However if their operations are not able to handle these sales, the money is squandered.

 

Choosing The Right Solution

After the digital strategist had chosen the right priority to focus on, she would have to find the right method to deliver the business outcome which you desired. For example, if sales are identified as the primary objective, this can be achieved through opening new sales channels or enabling real-time transactions.

 

 

 

Source: The Economist

 

The digital strategist will then review the existing products and services that are available on the market. Based on the view of a neutral and unbiased third party, the strategist will evaluate the strength, weakness, and pricing of these products. You would be presented with a shortlist of the best products for each item which would achieve your specific goals.

 

Understanding Your Business Better Through The Process Of Digital Strategy

The entire process of undergoing the digital strategy process can add value to your company by itself. You would understand how your company is faring against your competitors and acquire a new perspective of your company. Before the strategist can recommend digital technology to change your work processes, she had to understand fully your existing processes.

 

Digital technology has already transformed the way that we work and play. Customers expectations are evolving as a result which forced companies to re-examine their methods of operations.

 

Let me give you an example. Before the days of Uber and Grab, it is common for passengers to call the service centers of taxi operators such as ComfortDelgro and SMRT in Singapore. The norm is that they would have to wait 10 minutes before they are connected to the operator and wait another 5 minutes for the operator to confirm the booking with only the taxi license plate number. Assuming that you can get a taxi from the first taxi operator, if not, you will have to repeat this process with a second operator.

 

Today, you can simply download the app and enter your current location and destination. Within 3 minutes, the app would identify the taxi drivers that are within your area. You would be provided with the name, taxi license plates and taxis of all registered companies in Singapore instead of just 1 taxi company. If that fails, you can even hail a private taxi.

 

In other words, customers did not expect to call the operators these days. The new digital method of hailing a cab from their mobile phone is so much faster than calling, and this forever changed the operations of taxi booking industry.

 

 

Source: The Economist

 

The source of digital competitive advantage is varied, and it can range from social media to SaaS and big data as seen in the chart above. Whichever industry that you are in, we would uncover new digital methods of working that would give you the business advantage. This can be done by streamlining business process, improving sales channel or better decision making.

 

Government Incentives For Digital Strategy

The Singapore government had embarked on a productivity drive since 2011 with schemes that would extent all the way to 2018. For companies to succeed, they would have to embrace technology and the resulting transformation to stay competitive. If cost is an issue, it is significantly reduced through the various grants.

 

This digital strategy program is one key method and it is eligible for 70% government subsidy through the Capability Development Grant through Spring Singapore. Alternatively you can apply for the 60% cash payout under Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme and 400% tax deduction administered by IRAS in Singapore. For the PIC scheme, this has to be done before 1 August 2016 before it is reduced to 40%.

 

Conclusion

As a company, you can either be a laggard or the leader. The fact that digital transformation is disrupting business as usual is beyond dispute. The difference is that sensitivity of disruption for different industries. Instead of being reacting passively to the digital initiatives of your competitor erodes your competitive advantage, why not bring the game to your competitors?

 

As mentioned at the start of the article, the change would be gradual such that both the employees and management can accept. The point is that after steady progress, you will look back 1 year from now and see that your company is transformed in such a manner where it is competitive and sets the direction for your industry.

 

We can be your temporary Chief Digital Officer for this period of transformation with strong management support from your company. If your company is ready to embark on this digital transformation journey, please contact us here for a free 1-hour consultation. We would be delighted to clarify your doubts and identify the specific benefits of digital transformation for your company.

 

 

 

 

 

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