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Digital strategy: the new toolkit for decision-makers

The very first stages of digital transformation give rise to a tricky question: how to create, from strategy, the list of specific projects to carry out? Here’s my toolkit.

We argue a lot about vocabulary: “digital” strategy, “operational” strategy? Essentially, words are not important! In the context of transformation, what matters is that the company’s strategy will have to be broken down into concrete projects to be implemented. It’s all about what happens in the field, with projects which will enable businesses to seek out technological opportunities which can be used in the service of business challenges.

So how, in concrete terms, can we use “strategy” to identify the digital projects which will serve the strategy itself? How can we construct the best ever wish list?

There are many tools to make the task easier for decision-makers. I’ve summarised the main tools for you, bearing in mind that we must develop in a world of efficiency, iteration and agility.

1 – “Points of view” of the digital transformation

To identify and prioritise the digital transformation initiatives and projects to be undertaken, each organisation within the company can lead different co-design sequences. This organisation method enables a development process to be carried out for a product or service (often innovative), involving the end user and all stakeholders. It takes into account the different “points of view” of the end client or user, the company, working methods, technologies and new habits.

In a nutshell, let’s say that the client’s point of view allows us to identify projects to better respond to new requirements from the client: simplified and optimised client pathway, transparency, proximity, personalisation, omnichannel, speed and quality of delivery, safety and, lastly, the right price. The company’s point of view helps to identify projects which respond to internal requirements for adaptation to the rules of the digital world: significantly affected employees; management required to develop and implement new governance; culture which must be updated to incorporate digital culture along with the need to change constantly and to welcome new talent.

The contributions made by new technologies are critical: before they were mastered by IT professionals; today, they are increasingly mastered by professions, users and clients, who thereby become informed users themselves.

Lastly, new habits must be taken into consideration with client experiences, the links between the company and its ecosystem and also the collaborative and cognitive side of things.

2 – New methods of innovation

An innovation process is essential to go beyond the experiences which have already been implemented or even to come up with disruptive ideas. Again, there are a wide range of tools for this – I encourage you to read the article “Digital Innovation: making new from old?” on this blog in the next few days. For example, the disruptive innovation method enables users to come up with and, in particular, to select and test ideas. The actions to be taken to generate a coherent model in relation to the company’s field of innovation include: creation of your “digital assessment”, decision on the key elements of the company’s DNA and identification of the preferred strategic direction.The user is at the heart of this method. Involved at all stages, the user helps to identify the functionalities to be developed, along with the levels of reliability and finishing expected to begin testing.

3 – The “co-design/MVP” cycle

The “co-design/MVP” (Minimum Viable Product) cycle enables businesses to choose an idea and to approve the go/no go testing for a project within one or two months. The implementation is made more secure by the initial involvement of all stakeholders during the co-design sequences and by listening to feedback from a focus group representing target users. This cycle is implemented by a multidisciplinary transformation team.

4 – The Digital Value Grid

Last but not least (since I’ve had the pleasure of creating it with the Sopra Steria Consulting teams), the Digital Value Grid (DVG) is quite an innovative tool for decision making. It is a comprehensive methodology to create a grid of digital transformation projects based on the company’s attributes and its market. Specifically, this tool for decision making enables businesses to choose where to focus their efforts, based on business issues and the range of available technologies. By combining these two fields, it is possible to translate the overall strategy into issues which are then broken down into digital projects.

In short, it’s clear that you are not powerless when it comes to creating a list of projects to be undertaken for your digital transformation, far from it! With this toolkit, men and women of the company interact to build a truly effective, agile and iterative digital strategy. New technologies are there to make it easier to unleash our ambitions.

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Emmanuel Gambart de Lignières

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