Developing a successful and efficient digital strategy is key for competing with digital natives. Mário Conde, a partner in Bain's Digital practice, describes three questions that companies should ask themselves when imagining their future in the digital marketplace.
Read more: How to Build a Digital Strategy
Read the transcript below.
MÁRIO CONDE: The pace of change is faster than it's ever been before. And there's so much uncertainty and complexity in the decision making. And honestly, digital native companies, they seem to be playing by different rules—and they're winning. So having a digital strategy has never been so important. And it's hard to get a right one.
We think you need to go through three questions when you're going to do a digital strategy. First is where is your industry headed? Second is what role will your company play in that future? And third, how do you actually make progress without really knowing what's the point of arrival, for example, using stepping-stones?
On the first question, customers can't really tell you what they want if the technology is not really available yet. We think a useful way to imagine the future is to think of a movie of your customers, say, in 10 years consuming your product or service. What would that look like? And your current technology vendors or partners, could they actually be a competitor in the future? Could they disrupt your business?
On the second question, how do you play and win in that future? We think you need to be deliberate about the urgency to act. And you will face tough questions such as, do I go after a new or even an inexistent profit pool, or do I stick to defending the one I have now? Do I want to be a first mover or do I want to follow someone? And finally, will I need new expertise and capabilities that I don't have today?
And on the third question, how do you make progress when you don't really know where you're headed? The traditional roadmaps, they don't really work. They are very linear. They assume you're not going to learn anything along the way. We like the concept of stepping-stones. We think you need to have an aspirational view of where you're headed, but then make your way through stepping-stones so that you actually keep the flexibility of learning something along the way and you make progress towards your goal.
How to Build a Digital Strategy
Three questions can help companies establish the point of departure on their digital journey.
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