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Do you need a digital strategy?

5th July 2016

Do you need a digital strategy?Everyone working in organisations in this modern, digital age can recognise clearly how much advantage there is to gain from the correct implementation of digital technologies.

Improving customer relationships and experiences, improving productivity, enhancing communications and providing competitive advantage through innovations. More importantly in our public services facing significant and ongoing cost-reduction pressures, we know that digital can offer new ‘self-service’ approaches to dramatically reduce time, money and paperwork.

Where’s the problem? Well two surveys already this year have pointed to the lack of digital strategy – one in the public sector, and one in businesses. But they’ve both arrived in the same conclusion – around 1/3rd of organisations state they have a digital plan in place, another 1/3rd are working towards that plan, and yet the remaining 1/3rd have no plan or even a plan to build that plan!

One third of public sector organisations in a national survey declared they have no unified digital strategy in place (source), and only one third of businesses say they have a digital strategy in place according to research this year by (source).

But surely this is the wrong question to ask anyway... the times when organisations could consider ‘digital’ as a needing a separate and specific plan are over. Every organisation now needs to review its bigger plan – all of them, and consider where and how digital technologies will support, enhance and change those plans. Digital isn’t a “nice-to-have” or an extension of existing plans and services. Digital offers the opportunity to become the business core, to over-turn existing processes, to provide customers with new engagement, experience and services.

And its customers which are key to the issue of course. All the time now customers are increasing their use of digital (not to ignore a small % who still struggle with digital inclusion of course). All the time their expectations of businesses and organisations are growing and developing – your digital services, communications, customer experiences are being compared every day to the best in the world. If you are a retailer selling online, then you’ll be compared to market leaders - Amazon, eBay, Etsy. If you are delivering public services then you’ll be compared to the best-in-class across the UK (possibly beyond) – Wigan, which is recently announced as the Digital Leader in the sector

So yes, go ahead and review the ways in which digital will be able to improve your operations, plans and customer engagement in future. But do not make the separation from your core business plan – make it an integral part of all that you have planned, and all that is possible too. Consider digital as offering multiple opportunities for innovating in the future – play with ideas, consult your customers about their expectations and what they’d like, speak with your partner organisations and collaborate with your digital developments. It’s a very exciting time ahead and the winners will be digital at heart.

For details on our new Digital Leadership programme, please read our recently published White Paper which you can access here or to find out more about this programme visit www.cosmic.org.uk/services/consultancy/leaders.