Twenty some odd years after the first web page was published, it's pretty evident how pervasive digital interactions have become. Walking down any urban street at lunch requires dodging pedestrians preoccupied with their smartphone.
If we accept this as the new normal, how do organizations respond and create lasting value with something more than mere digital substitution? Developing your digital edge, and capitalizing on it, means exploiting pervasive digital connections between systems, people, places and things but how do you avoid letting your digital business strategy become a digital tragedy?
Advances in information technology around Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud (SMAC) make it tempting to start with technology and work backwards in search of a good business reason for applying the technology. Even though it may feel terribly important at the time, our experience is that it really ends up resulting in a bunch of activities more often than tangible outcomes that yield actual, measurable results.
One option is to avoid having a digital strategy - not realistic in my opinion, but it is an option.
A more prudent approach is to start small and identify a clear business outcome, a specific goal you want to achieve, or problem that needs to be solved.
Next, start to define it in an actionable and practical way that leads to customer value and company revenue. At this point you can start to build the goal into a digital capability.
Any digital capability will be rooted in information technology and most digital capabilities will require some degree of transformation and probably have analytics and mobility components but know what you want to accomplish before you start thinking about the technology. There is no shortage of technical capability available to start developing your digital edge but you need it defined with measurable results first.