Depending on where you sit within an organization has shaped your definition of going digital.
To some, going digital has meant an overhaul of their computing systems -- modernizing how their network of computers are interconnected to a "data center" protected by a secure firewall, and maybe included a centralized database for things like sales tracking, time entry, expense and HR submissions, and/or customer information.
More recently, the cloud, cyber security (hopefully), and/or the discussions of BYOD have been added to the mix.
Often, CIOs, COOs, HR executives and CEOs have these discussions on their radars.
But, going digital also has a different meaning -- one that may just disrupt how an organization has set up its computing system in the past. Going digital relates to future viability of consumer interest in and interaction with an organization's brand and offerings, and that is something marketing and communication experts have been trying to stay on top of as their industries are (also) being redefined by the same technology.
Going digital used to mean converting print brochures to online versions with expanded capabilities (aka more "space" to pack in more information at a lower cost). Then came the social platforms, which created communities of like-minded to share, shape and impact reality.
Now we are in the mobile era meaning business models need to shift from tactical execution of brand-appealing posts and self-serving news and information to creating and nurturing relationships online in ways that are meaningful to customers.
As HBR's recent (May 29, 2017) article points out:
Even the word “digital” now means something different. It used to be synonymous with “IT.” Nowadays, a company’s digital strategy practically drives the roadmap and goals of many departments, from marketing to sales to HR.
This point cannot be emphasized enough. Yet, many of us are still thinking old school, hierarchical decision-making, marketing and managing.
According to the same HBR article:
In our most recent survey, executives say they look to digital initiatives primarily to increase revenue and reduce costs. These are worthy goals, of course, but it also means there’s less priority being placed on innovating and implementing the latest technologies into their products.
Tomorrow is upon us. The race is on which organization is savvy and will be able to spark new levels of growth, and which ones will not. As such, it is essential for executives to speed up their digital investments and transformation initiatives if staying relevant is a goal. In doing so, here are a few initial considerations to keep in mind:
1. Include a senior marketing/PR expert (with a digital experience) in the conversation, if not have them lead an internal AND external needs assessment. Since there are two ways of defining "going digital" both need to be represented at the table as equals to uncover opportunities and help define solutions for challenges that will arise.
2. Have IT and Marketing co-leads define the "what"(it is) being recommended starting with the consumer and working backwards. This obviously builds on #1, but the point worth noting here is the intention of focusing on the desired experience of the mobile device consumer/member and NOT the other way around (or what works internally best based on traditional roles and responsibilities).
3. Be prepared to redefine your organization's operations. Digital redraws the lines and how decisions need to be made. This isn't easy but reality. Think about a lawyer who recommends to the CEO not to respond to a potential issue... 10-20 years ago the lawyer got his way. Today, however, if you take that advice your brand is likely to be publicly scorched and take a costly reputation hit. Just ask the airlines. It's not just crisis responses that need to be instant. ALL out reach needs to be timely, meaningful and serve to add value. Yet, many organizations are still so entrenched in past ways of managing their brands and reputations -- often requiring pre-vetting of content and responses before they "go live" -- which screams outdated to Millennials most of all. Speaking of Millennials, who don't trust traditional ways (of business, government and associations), organizations need to interconnect budgets, agendas, and outcomes between departments unlike ever before. This takes us to point #4...
4. Revamp your understanding of (and annual budgets for) marketing and communications. Digital marketing means integrating Marketing, PR and Public Affairs. These divisions are no longer separate but integrated and build upon each other. Coupled with this reality are things like: Traditional websites are no longer effective for mobile consumption and visually identify an organization as out-of-date. Consumers/members need to be integrated in the process of building new products. Social media isn't mean a place to overtly advertise; and, not every organization should be on Facebook or Instagram. Content needs to be customized and organizations need to provide ongoing value or lose trust.
This is the Gokotta Group's blog.
It is the place for us to make note of changing times, new ways of thinking, and provide examples of how greater impact is being created. It's also a spot we can focus on people. And, occasionally, showcase the type of projects the Gokotta team supports (see "Case Studies" below).