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What does it mean to be digital ready?

What does it mean to be digital ready?

September 12, 2013

By Ross Coverdale

Digital digital digital digital digital. Digital.

Without a doubt the business buzz word of 2013 is – you guessed it – digital. But what does it mean?

In the not too distant past, the answer on most people’s lips would revolve somewhere around websites and social media, and it would essentially boil down to a company’s presence on the web. Now while those things are still relevant, the overarching reach of digital goes far beyond what would normally be confined to the marketing and IT business silos.

On the 11th September 2013, this was the focus of the Insider Business Breakfast seminar. Hosted by Scottish entrepreneur and Chris van der Kuyl, and joined by a panel of digitally-focused guest speakers, the discussion was all around asking the question: ‘is your business digital ready?’

“Digital is not a business outcome – it is an enabler of business outcomes”, according to panellist Maggie Buggie, Vice President and Head of Digital Transformation Sales at Capgemini Consulting. This way of thinking about digital’s influence was a running theme at the event. Depending on who you speak to, digital will be described as being about digital marketing and social media, or user/customer experience, or IT and communications (to name a few). The important thing about digital is that it is not just these things – it encompasses all of them and more. The driving force behind digital transformation within a business should come from the business strategy – not as a digital add-on that is shoehorned into the business strategy.

Desired corporate outcomes drive the business case for digital, and while profit will ultimately form part of the ‘immediate’ desired outcomes, leadership teams should not be blinkered to the point where it is seen as purely a set of sales tools. An integrated approach, that has buy-in from all corners of the business, is vital to success – it should go beyond the digital team.

The impact digital can have on company culture, and your company’s employee proposition, is a massive part of the picture. Maggie also touched on some of the key points around this; “why would anyone want to work for me? That is the first question you should ask in your employer value proposition.” If you empower people to be creative and innovative without driving out business efficiency, ultimately it will positively impact the bottom line. There is a performance gap opening between those who do and those who don’t embrace digital, but the first step is understanding what it is should mean for your business.

“Being digital ready is less about technology and more about culture”, Chris van der Kuyl summarised on the day. While technology plays a part, it’s important to realise that it doesn’t affect just one, two, or even three parts of a business; it affects its core, and the techy, designy, webby, and, dare I say it, sexy things that fall under the digital banner, are really just some of the parts that facilitate action and change.


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