Whatever you are about to do involving online and digital, it must be fully aligned with your business strategy and your main company objectives.

Very few companies have doubts about the needs of evolving their offerings and services through online and digital. Despite this, very few have a clear idea about what to prioritise and how to get tangible results. To get tangible results, you must be willing to question and challenge your existing strategies, plans, activities and priorities.

I am sure that many companies believe that evolving or adapting starts with a change of systems and tools and that their evolvement is mainly as a result of this change. I think that to start on this basis is a recipe for disaster. You can not put the evolvement of your company in the IT-department. And it will most definitely not be solved by sending your executive management to Silicon Valley or employing a Chief Digital Officer.

To onlinify and digitalise your company, your offering and services are only about how to use and implement your business strategy.

Companies must think through how online and digital can make it effortless to be an employee, a customer, a prospect, or a partner. In 2019 you must evolve the experience and the interactions step by step for your customers and stakeholders.

Digital and online transformation is about your business strategy, and you can only have one business strategy. Everything else is planning to support the business strategy. I mainly see examples that straddle existing silos – sales, marketing, communications, etc. But, all departments need to be part of the solution and way of working. I think a good start is to stop talking about transformation, and the best start is to start evolving internal and external experiences. 

Most on-going change is increasingly meaningless since it’s the same old IT-driven initiatives with a different name. All future initiatives to evolve has to deliver increasing levels of operating efficiency and enhance the customer experience. I promise you that evolved customer experiences will also be the most efficient operationally for your company. 

The chief executives of companies must relinquish control and embrace the failure of the attempts so far, and realise that they had no idea what they needed to do. They must lead a considerable shift of mindset, starting with themselves and the owners. At the same time, other C-levels might have trouble letting go of control, to which I would recommend small steps as a start. Once you start reprogramming, that you don’t always have to be in control, the more you will dare to test and try.

If this starts with, that the chief executives dare to challenge themselves, they can ask others to do the same. To retrain chief executives to allow their colleagues to fail is vital. If you allow yourself and others to fail, you boost the culture to experiment and innovate.

Sometimes chief executives can be paralysed although they can see the possibilities and at the same time be afraid of losing an existing business that still makes money.

There are some different options to begin your business transformation:

  • An innovation lab, where you move a part of the company outside the company and let them have their own processes and ways of working.
  • An agile approach in which teams, leadership or the whole organisation experiments from within the company. 
  • The top-down approach, the chief executives, take a business decision to transform which permeates throughout the organisation.

Whatever option you choose, you need to simplify, use speed and experiment. Trust your organisation and all of your colleagues. Do not imagine or fool yourself that external consultants can solve this for you, except if they have transformed their own business and way of working. During the transformation, you shall stay very close to both internal and external stakeholders involved, to find ways to improve their experiences. Engage prioritised users to speed up the cycle of testing and bringing solutions. 

Digital transformation is fun; you notice when the experience has improved. Transform customer engagement, employee engagement and optimise operations. If you don’t do it, the next recession will hit you hard. Those not adapting, embracing and improving the experiences will be replaced by those who do. 

As a keynote speaker, I often share my tips and advice about online and digital. I’d love to share more of my thoughts with you and your audience.

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Anders Björklund

Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.
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