Going Digital Is More Than Just a Business Cost

In the third post of the digital transformation series, Matt Pasienski, Wizeline's VP of International Operations & Data, explains why companies should treat digital initiatives as part of a core business strategy and not just an expense.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum published a step-by-step guide to digital transformation. One of the critical pieces of advice was that companies need to think about how their digital strategy fits with their business model.  

Reinventing the core

This advice may seem obvious, but it’s important to recognize if your digital and business strategies are aligned. Wizeline has worked with customers in the past who think about their digital roadmap as a side project—an entirely separate initiative from their core business.

Here’s a simple question that can be hard to answer: Will investing in digital transformation help your business make money? And secondly, are the leaders within your company aligned on how changing the customer experience or building new digital products creates revenue?

One of the biggest ways Wizeline adds value for our clients is by nudging them to think about digital as something that comes from the core. It requires a shift in perspective to thinking about digital investment as a growth strategy, not just a way to bridge a gap with a competitor.

Defining digital

It might help to take a step back and look at how to define digital. Its definition will vary depending on the context of its use. Digital indicates capabilities that make it possible to do things we could not do before in the physical world. In today’s use of the term, digital often means anything that uses the latest state-of-the-art technology—AI, cloud services, machine learning. However, digital is more than just using the latest technology, employing digital has a new type of business impact.

  • Digital ‒ is the representation of physical items or activities through binary code. It refers to the use of technologies to improve organizational processes, to improve interactions between people, organizations, or to make new business models possible.
  • Digital optimization ‒ is the process of using digital technology to improve existing processes and business models.
  • Digital business ‒ is an organization, or division of an organization, whose product and business model require the use of information and digital technology.
  • Digital business transformation ‒ (which we focus on in this series) is the process of capitalizing on the latest digital technologies and practices to create a well-rounded new digital business model.

Tying digital to business

The metrics for success also become more interesting when you think about digital and business as intertwined. KPIs shift from “app delivery by X date” to goals like “mobile app DAU surpassing web DAU” or “reducing the customer service load by 20 hours per week.” The features you build, the projects you prioritize, and how you articulate value to other stakeholders becomes more tied to overall business priorities.

Without transforming the core—the value proposition, people, processes, and technologies of the business—any digital initiative is likely to be short-lived. Reinventing the business can seem bold and risky, but a well-defined digital growth strategy can yield long-term results.

We know it can seem overwhelming to think about digital transformation so broadly, so we encourage you to start small and design an experiment with a business value as the primary KPI. Work with an experienced partner that can help you turn the experiment into an internal case study that allows you secure funding or signoff to scale digital projects across your company.

Wizeline helps companies make the leap to digital. We work with businesses like the New York Post and Digital Arts Network to tackle rapid product development and build immersive customer experiences with end to end support. Do you have a project you need to get off the ground? Tell us about it.

Sarai Castañeda

Posted by Sarai Castañeda on May 29, 2018