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What “Going Digital” Should Actually Mean? Part 1/4

Douglas Loots
September 05, 2017

Rarely a day goes by, that I don’t hear or read someone make the pronouncement “We’re going digital!”  Often, I ask them what that means in the context of their organization?  The typical response I get is, “We’re going to build some flavor of,”:

  • New website, portal, native mobile
  • API service capabilities
  • Some other technology that deals in 0’s and 1’s
I often think to myself, and sometimes try to convince them, going Digital can mean so much more. Recall the adage of “people, process, and technology?”  Going digital should be about all three within the ecosystem and context of an organization.  A very savvy CIO, who I consider a mentor, told me “people, process, and technology, in that order, non-negotiable.” I’ve mulled over his words of advice for a few years now.  Leveraging, his context, I think that “going Digital” can be summed up in one simple word, “ENABLEMENT.” When I talk to clients, I try to encourage them to think about digital as broadly as possible.  Go as big as they can.  When I frame digital in that manner, enablement is what I come up with. Digital should be about:
  • Enabling your customers to service their account, whenever, wherever, and on whatever device they choose
  • Enabling your customers to buy from you whenever, wherever, and however they choose
  • Enabling your employees to do their work whenever, wherever, and however they choose
  • Enabling your employees to access the appropriate resources
  • Enabling your employees to drive innovation, from the inside out
  • Enabling anyone that does business with your organization, whether customer, supplier, or vendor to conduct that business as seamlessly as possible
  • Enabling employees by adopting agile processes
I could go on.  At the end of the day, I believe Digital should be viewed as a strategy of enablement to get the most out of your business, your people, your relationships, and your technology. Once an enablement capability is built, it does need to be maintained, but few other strategies are as scalable, reliable, resource efficient, and transparent as Digital enablement. In the coming weeks, I’ll elaborate on this subject matter to add what I think going Digital means in terms of customers, employees, and organizations. Next time someone says they’re “going Digital,” do yourself a favor and ask them what that means…  

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