Are You Ready For Digital Business?

When David Cameron and Angela Merkel put their heads together to talk about the “Internet of Things” and decide that Britain should double its research investment into technology research, you know the world is digital.

The fact that the world is becoming digital is no longer really newsworthy. It’s a boardroom topic for most firms. As it should be. You only have to open your eyes to see the impact that digital touchpoints have on business. As I sit here writing this blog, I am in the departure lounge of Brussels Airport en route to Stockholm for the last leg of a presentation roadshow. I’m surrounded by travelers on smartphones, tablets, and a few laptops. Almost everyone (with the exception of a sole individual filling in a crossword) is using a digital device.

Firms are beginning to acknowledge this digital-first culture. We’ve been presenting to audiences in cities all around Europe, talking about Transforming Into A Digital Business In The Face Of Disruption. The overwhelming feedback from these presentations has been that firms are beginning to realize that digital is critical to their future success (and in some cases, their very survival). This spans B2C and B2B. But in many cases, the executives we speak to say their firms don’t have a digital strategy, and even if they do, they doubt their capability to deliver it.

It’s clear — companies need help to make sense of what digital means to them.

Today sees the launch of Forrester’s latest “Big Idea” research report — “The Future Of Business Is Digital.” This is the product of months of research and showcases the key findings from a recent global executive survey into digital business. In fact, Nigel Fenwick shares some of the insights in his blog. We’ve analyzed the strategies of dozens of firms that are transforming in the face of digital disruption, and we’ve created a digital strategy framework to help you make sense of how your firm can become a digital business. The research highlighted two critical aspects of digital strategies:

  • Digital businesses must master digital customer experience and digital operational excellence. It’s easy to think of digital as your website and apps — and absolutely that’s part of it. But to reap the benefits of being a digital business, you must think about two sides of the equation — both how you enhance your customer experience and how you enhance your operational efficiency and agility using digital technology.
  • Digital businesses thrive within dynamic ecosystems of value. The key characteristic of successful digital businesses is their ability to position themselves as ecosystem players. They acknowledge that they can’t do everything themselves, so they turn to dynamic ecosystems of partners to extend their internal capabilities. And likewise, they understand that their customers see them as just one supplier in an ecosystem of firms they turn to. This drives a different approach to designing products and services in the digitally networked world.

Our latest report examines these two concepts in depth, gives you a ton of examples of firms that are transforming in the face of digital disruption, and provides a framework for assessing your digital business readiness.

So if the leaders of two of Europe’s largest economies agree that digital needs investment, isn’t it about time that your firm got on board?

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