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At the 2017 IDC Directions event in Boston, the full potential for businesses who adopt (and have adopted) digital transformation was laid bare for all to see. But for me, the question is more how you may deploy it rather than whether you should, and for that, I believe what is required is a ‘connected strategy’ enabled by a suite of software solutions but driven by business innovation and leadership.

Digital transformation is the incorporation of digital means to further the ambition, competence and direction of business. Being digital enables connection and translation on digital platforms like smart devices, which in turn facilitates the collection, analysis and promulgation of data. This connection between businesses and their stakeholders represents opportunities, the exploitation of which is at the heart of digital success.

The digital economy

The fact that the digital economy is booming is globally evident. According to MIT research, companies that adapt to the digital world (the Digirati) are 26% more profitable on 9% greater revenue. The European Commission cites it as the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth in the world. The recently published UK Digital Strategy white paper by the UK government is using it as a basis for fiscal investment, which I commented on here in “The digital strategy – A connected culture” relative to this blog.

With the inertia from new enabling technologies such as, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, Blockchain, drones, VMware and artificial intelligence (AI), the potential is accelerating exponentially for those companies that can undergo a digital transformation. But in order to minimize risks in investment and maximize returns, it needs to be connected to strategic goals, and for that, you need a connected strategy.

The need for a connected strategy

Connected strategies60-80% of businesses fail to fully execute their strategy, a fact that has remained unchanged for decades, so to be in the upper quartile is to be among the elite group who succeed in strategic definition and execution. One of the major factors in being in the upper quartile is the ability of business leaders to connect strategy, from vision to individuals, to source data and manage the performance at every layer in between.

Incorporating digital transformation within the connected strategy ethos binds each element from vision to targets to employees to source data, and allows for an organic, strategic mechanism to fully exploit the collective of technology, customer needs and expectations and business leadership to support sustainable and responsible business growth.

Here we find more enablement in the form of software solutions, which provide the ability to connect strategy to operations and data, and leverage off the potential from new technologies, subject to the constant guidance provided by corporate performance management.

Corporate performance management

Setting up a strategic mechanism that delivers, and continues to be in tune with, a connected strategy requires strong governance and agility in corporate performance management. Once again, the right software solutions can facilitate the tasks here by distributing the information required securely and in real time to those decision makers with the ability to use it for positive means.

Summary: Be the disruptor rather than the disrupted

There is no doubt around the growth potential brought about by the digital economy. To have a digital transformation policy is to be a disruptor rather than be the disrupted, and with the availability of software solutions to help you take advantage of this technology as a means of developing advantage and delivering corporate strategy, the question should really be, “Why haven’t you started yet?”

I welcome comments on this or any other topic concerning finance, HCM, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and strategy.

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