When we talk about digital, I feel that we often just focus on marketing and sales. We spend too little time thinking about how digitalization actually affects our entire business. The risk is that we buy digital solutions and services that seem cool and make us look digital, but forget to think about the core of our business. What should one do to invest in digitalization?
1. Include digital expertise in management and boards
In the same way that a lawyer and an economist are more or less compulsory on each board, and that you find a CFO and CMO in each management, someone with digital skills should also take a seat at this level. Every company needs to work with digital business development, and consider how the entire business can be digitized. One of the main issues in both the board and the management should be digitalization – it is not enough for a department or project group to work with it.
To hire a digital marketer under the marketing manager, or a manager for digital channels under the IT manager, doesn’t do the trick. The focus on digitalization must be shifted to management, everything else is unsustainable in a world where these issues are critical to the company’s survival. Digitization is something that must be high on the agenda in every role and level in an organization. Otherwise, we will be stuck in political challenges that we are working on to navigate, instead of grabbing the fact that startups and Asian risk-taking companies are running around us.
2. Implement digitization in the heart of the business rather than in isolated areas
I get so frustrated every time I see a digital solution that is more or less set just to show that “we are digital”. For example, it can be a digital screen that shows things other than those you are actually interested in, since it is not connected to the rest of the business. In many cases, these solutions are implemented to test something. This results in tests that have both a lack of foundation and a poor result, precisely because they are not part of the core business or integrated with it.
Instead, ask yourself questions like: what problems do we solve for our customers? How do we think this problem will be solved in the future? Will this problem even exist in the future? Then prioritize digital activities that develop the core business and make real pilot projects to test new things.
3. Invest in digital education
If we are to succeed in digitizing our core business and have digital issues on the table at whatever level in the organization, we need to educate ourselves. We need to take responsibility for learning about new technologies, business models and opportunities. We need to ensure that we listen to our customers and see what trends are coming. We know that knowledge is power – and it is no different this time.
Time for a challenge!
Do you want to start your journey towards digitalization today already? Then I have a challenge. Talk to three people you don’t normally talk to, and ask how they think your industry will look like in five years. I can almost promise that you will be surprised.