Ask a dozen CEOs what digital means to them, and you’ll likely get a dozen different answers. That’s not a sign of ignorance, but simply a sign of the times. The digital era is still quite young, and many executives continue to have their own take on what it all means.
Given the constant noise around digital disruption, it’s not surprising that many organizations confuse being truly digital with simply bolting digital technologies onto existing offerings. This strategy of incremental innovation may satisfy immediate customer appetites for greater accessibility and convenience, but it’s not enough to help organizations drive significant and sustained revenue growth to stay ahead of the competition. Becoming a truly digital business requires much more than doing the same old things in different ways.
Over the past decade, many of the organizations that have attempted to go digital have done so by launching e-commerce platforms, hiring chief digital officers, developing mobile apps, or creating incubator or accelerator programs. Most of these initiatives, while noteworthy, are merely digital add-ons to the core business. Many executives may now ask, “Is this it? Has digital really moved the needle for us?” The answer is a qualified yes—but now leaders need to start thinking differently about digital in order to capitalize on its full potential.
To be truly transformative, digital must be a core part of a company’s business strategy and deeply embedded into every element of its mind-set, culture and operations. Huge potential awaits, but many organizations are just scratching the surface.