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World Class Digital – Competing on digital competence

The pace of digital change is phenomenal. Every day new initiatives are started that will potentially shake up an existing industry. The new 3D printing shop that MakerBot opened this week in Mahatten is just such an example (BusinessWeek).

To maintain competitiveness businesses must move beyond managing the digital world as a set of projects, focusing on on-line functionality, or the experience of a Persona.

Instead companies need to compete on digital competence, sharpen all aspect in their business, from culture and behaviours to organisational capabilities and structure. Companies like Amazon have a huge advantage as they were digital at birth. Others have to become Digital by evolution.

A recent study by BearingPoint surveyed 25 companies who are recognised as world class digital organisations.

Digital is a moving and evolving target that is not planned in a few research labs, rather it is an ever growing flood of initiatives that pop up and are weeded out. The exact future of digital is uncertain. A companies approach need to reflect this and should combine broad involvement in innovation and initiatives with a coherent approach to brand, customers and partners.

The study found that what world class digital companies share is an incremental, experimental approach within a clear vision and measurement framework.

Just as digital innovation has caused empowerment of population in media innovation, so digital innovation might require an empowerment of the company staff to compete successfully on digital competence.

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2 Responses to " World Class Digital – Competing on digital competence "

  1. your

    6 best practices critical for achieving a successful digital transformation:

    1.Develop an incremental digital journey
    2.Define the rules for digital
    3.Increase agility to overcome structural inertia
    4.Dare to fail
    5.Prioritise what you measure, measure what you prioritise
    6.Build your digital business on data insights

    seem pretty generic.
    What is different in any other industry/ function?
    No “dare to fail”, but planning the strategy, roll out, aligned orgnanisations in 100%detail?
    Is that realistic?

    Is the business in Digital run by the creative programmers, while in the rest it is run by managers?


    • Jan Jacob Koomen says:

      Digital transformation is indeed quite a broad subject. I believe there are however some differences with other industry/functions.

      Uncertainty: Whereas developments in the function like logistics, production and service tend to be reasonably predictable for the coming years, no one knows for sure the role of digital touch points even within 12 months. You need to transform to an organization that can cope with such uncertainty.

      Control: Whereas an organization can define the way it wants to process orders, store stock or manage assets in the digital interaction world class companies hand this control to the user.

      That is why it is no surprise that the 6 best practices we found support an empowered organization. They strengthen consistency though vision (1)and agreed ways of working (2, 5,6). At the same time they encourage initiatives at the ‘coal face ‘ e.g in the interaction with the consumer (3,4).

      On a more practical level I would always recommend to design the digital interface with the consumer based on a holistic framework that support innovation bottom up, not on predefined experience/journeys for specific ‘personas’ that drive innovation from the top.

      So this means direction by managers and creative programmers, innovation by users and client facing staff.

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