Digital futures

Future gazing

It is sometimes a daunting thought to start the process of forming your digital strategy which should form the basis for your digital investment, shape the return you can expect, identify and provide the direction for your workstreams.  I will be over the next few weeks from experiences over the last 15 years suggest an approach for you to consider which will help and make the process of forming your strategy easier and give you an output which can be used and followed and which not simply collect dust on the Directors office shelf or reside in a forgotten deep network folder.

Forming your strategy is a lot to do with applying a sensible common sense approach. We can build a model to follow. All the Strategic consultancy firms including the key players such as McKinsey, KPMG or PWC all have their multi stepped approach. Your model should match your business and your requirements you lay down for the strategy. We do not always need to bend a strategy into a stepped model which may not be completely relevant.  The formation of your strategy should not take long, I have created strategies for corporate companies with the appropriate access to the key people in only a few weeks.

The key is to create something that is based on the company current vision and goals which can be easily reviewed, measured, updated and most importantly is highly visible.

Forming your strategy, Step 1: Appoint your future gazing and strategy team 

We all have considered the direction and read many predictions for 2014 which I consider to include continued and extended mobile delivery, social connection for your all external marketing but also moving to harness internal communication, automation and customisation of knowledge including personalisation and finally the Internet of Things.  CES 2014 bombarded us with irrelevant gadgets but there were some nuggets to consider. Your digital strategy must present your company’s position on these and potential impacts. Therefore an essential first step is to form a future gazing group.

Appoint a team to monitor, discuss and reflect on digital direction considering what is happening across the digital landscape and its potential impact on your business. This team is not your internal IT department but a selection of interested people across the company who have shown a personal interest and naturally engaged digitally. Could be an employee who have their own interest blog or someone into gaming or mobile apps. The key is to form the team and appoint ideally two people to follow each trend e.g. mobile technology direction. Set regular meeting schedule, e.g.monthly, to come together in a relaxed environment to discuss and present trends and digital movements which could be worth looking at further. The team should not be dedicated will need to spend appropriate amount of their time ( a few hours a week) on this and their general interest will keep them connected.  The team will create a digital dashboard with appropriate monitoring tools to help keep in touch and too share findings.

This team is essential to understand the connection between the company goals and the digital environment whilst ensuring the strategy as it is formed is reflective of digital direction. A business representative on the team needs to add the company direction and goals to the discussions. You may want to include your chosen digital agency as they will typically be delighted to allocate someone to the team.

In summary: appoint a team of 6 – 10 interested people, identify key trends and watch parameters, review on a regular basis and reflect it into your strategy as it forms.  With this team in place you will have a well-qualified internal team right on the digital button and avoid jumping into technologies when not relevant.

Next Step 2: Identify current position, goals and barriers

Author: John Campbell, a voice of Global digital community and the @Thedigiowl, LinkedIn