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6 key steps to building a successful digital business

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Step 4: Formulate a digital strategy to respond to opportunities and threats

Once the necessity of a digital strategy has been established, the following five elements must be addressed:

New digitally enabled business models

New digitally enabled business models afford new sources of revenue and disruptive competitive advantage for some period of time. Creating new business models will become an almost automatic default position of a digital business strategy.

The product and service portfolio

In an increasingly digital world, products and services can be virtual, with no physical presence.

Information as an asset

Information, and its effective use, has become a strategic asset and a competitive advantage to the digital businesses best able to exploit it. Although information strategy is a key element of digital business strategy, organisations must balance their desire for competitive advantage against the limitations of regulatory and other legal requirements and the privacy and manifold ethical concerns of their customers.


In the digital enterprise mobile devices and bring your own device (BYOD) are becoming more commonplace, cloud computing and cloud-based services of all kinds are proliferating, and data of all types is exploding. As a result, evolving and implementing an effective technology strategy are more complex than ever before.

Content, media and channels

A successful digital business strategy critically depends on understanding customers’ preferences for channels, the segmentation, and the possibilities associated with each instance.

Step 5: Find, develop and acquire digital business skills and roles

Digital business combines the expertise, skills and roles found not just in IT, but across the enterprise. Decision making will be owned, operated and potentially influenced by the relationship between CIOs and business leaders.

“Digital business leaders agree that the competition for talent will make or break their success in digital business,” said Diane Morello, managing vice president at Gartner. “However, according to Gartner’s 2014 CIO Agenda survey, 42 per cent of 2,339 CIOs from 77 countries surveyed said their IT organisation did not have the right skills and capabilities in place to meet upcoming digital business challenges. As digital business picks up speed, CIOs, HR executives and other business leaders must reimagine their quest for talent, emphasizing new approaches that accelerate and widen access to talented people while minimizing the bottlenecks of traditional serial processes.”

Step 6: Create new digital business capabilities

With the expectation that digital business expertise will spread around businesses within two or three years, organisations will need to explore the kind of disciplines needed to drive digital business initiatives. Traditional recruitment practices will not suffice. Instead, companies should consider launching boot camps and other learning programs about digital business across all areas of the business.

They should mine informal networks and investigate “work mashups” by applying digital business and digital technologies to the distribution of work and look at piloting new channels for finding, building and acquiring digital business capabilities.



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