There is a meme circulating the Internet at the moment. It’s a very accurate description of what’s currently going on in many industries. What it basically describes is many companies’ immediate reactions to the global pandemic: rapid digital transformation in order to survive. While immediate reactions are important, if these reactions don’t consider a company’s long-term, strategic objectives, they could end up causing more problems than they solve.
So what does it take to launch the right products in uncertain times? The art is in knowing how to react quickly, yet strategically. Now we will examine three key strategic reactions you need to consider, plan and implement. Keeping in mind that there has never been a better and more urgent time to innovate, discover new opportunities and digitize whatever can be digitized.
Strategic reaction #1: reinvention
The first example of a key strategic reaction, which is also the essence of digital transformation in its original meaning, is reinventing customer experiences. This should be a fundamental part of any business strategy.
This is about rethinking how you interact with customers, how they use your service/product, what their experience before, during, and after using your service is like and what opportunities exist to change/improve/digitize this experience. This is where gamification, interactivity and personalization are often implemented in one way or another.
Strategic reaction #2: digitization
The second strategic type of reaction is digitizing your products or services. If your business, service or products are mostly or partially offline: what can you do to digitize them? A few examples here would be companion apps for hardware products, working with the cloud or gathering, using, analyzing, or selling the data.
Strategic reaction #3: diversification
And the third type of strategic reaction, diversifying your business, is for situations where either your business is mostly offline, or you want to create a plan B/C/D for different scenarios. This is when you need to invest in new ideas, products and services to create new revenue streams.
Strategic reactions are the part of digital transformation that is going to have the most sustainable, long-term effect on your business. However, this may seem to be a very scary, risky and large investment. How do you even start a huge project like “reinventing customer experiences”? It sounds so overwhelming!
Especially if you look at the numbers. For instance, according to Harvard Business Review, companies spent $1.3 trillion on digital transformation in 2018. An estimated $900 billion was wasted when initiatives didn’t meet their goals. Another study conducted by the Standish Group, which reviewed around 2000 software projects, showed that 45-50% of the features developed were “almost never” or “never” used. So, in a world where the future is so unpredictable, how do you make sure that you don’t spend months/years and thousands/millions of dollars now, for something that may not even be used later?
The short answer is: you don’t need to. You don’t need to invest millions and years right away. The key here is not just about building something quickly; it’s about building the RIGHT thing. It’s a matter of using your time and resources wisely.