Get fit for digital business

Posted by: admin at 5:47 pm on June 16th, 2015

  • Digital Transformation
  • digital strategy
  • get fit for digital business
  • digital disruption

A strategic approach to digital business

Throughout my time leading change within organisations - mainly SMEs and mid-sized companies - I’ve worked to communicate the growth and efficiency benefits that digital brings when approached in a strategic (rather than a tactical) way.

I have also emphasised the risk of doing nothing beyond the online basics – and how that leaves companies vulnerable to a loss of market share to more savvy, digital-first competitors.

Still a challenge to communicate

But it’s not a simple message and getting it across isn’t always easy. The fact is digital “transformation” is difficult for anyone to get their head around. It defies an easy description or definition, beyond the need for businesses to keep up with their customers’ behavior.

An added obstacle is that many leaders think they are already doing digital well enough, despite treating it as a “bolt-on”activity - or by equating digital business improvement solely with new technology.  

No “one size fits all” approach to digital business improvement

They are many elements of the process that reach beyond digital itself and into the core fundamentals of how businesses operate. And although there is a process, every organization has its own unique requirements. So it can’t ever be a one size fits all approach.

The language doesn’t help either. I’ve found the words like digital “disruption” and digital “transformation” can be a barrier in themselves. Most people understandably prefer plain English to industry jargon and management consultancy speak.

I’m passionate about the benefits of a strategic approach to digital business so I was determined to find a better way to connect with SME business leaders who are turned off by consultancy speak.

A new way to talk about digital transformation

So I set out to try and create a new way of communicating the why, what, why and how of getting an organization in shape to grab the digital business opportunity. One that was clear, practical and hopefully unpretentious! Something that put it all into a more broadly understood context that can help engage a whole business team in a digital business improvement approach, rather than have them running for the door to escape the jargon and acronyms.  

Get fit for digital business

What I came up with was “get fit for digital business”.

I decided to use the analogy of “getting fit” because the approach required to get an organization in good shape for digital business is similar to the steps you’d take to get into great physical condition. Of course not everyone works out or wants to – but nearly everybody understands the language of fitness and understands the wellbeing benefits.

I’ve built a business improvement framework around this idea, backed by successful techniques and tools I have developed or borrowed over the years. The result is more accessible than some of the “dry” business change methodologies.

It’s a balanced, customer focused approach that blends and integrates the right combination of techniques (think yoga to circuit training), tools and technology (think weights to gym machines) and motivation (think fitness apps and personal trainers). 

Have I succeeded? Time will tell but early feedback has been very positive. But I’m looking for more companies with which to talk through the approach and see whether it’s right for them. Let me know if you are interested!

Next time – more about the “get fit for digital business” approach.