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BizReport : Internet : September 19, 2015

How to help your business go digital

Your business has a website or a Facebook page or an email address. You buy online advertising. You're digital, right? Maybe not. One expert explains how marketers can truly help their businesses 'go digital'.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: If a company is thinking about how to create a digital strategy, where is a good place to start? For instance, are there any cultural changes that need to occur for a company to become more digital?

Kirby Wadsworth, CMO of Mendix: Actually, we're finding the best way to start is to just jump in and start. Period. Pick an application that must be digital, must be mobile enabled, must be visual - going back to my earlier point, pick an application that defines whatever 'going digital' means to the business. Lock a very few smart people in a small room, give them permission and a mandate to figure it out, make sure they have access to the tools they need, and give them a very short time-window to do it. Let the rest take care of itself. When they emerge, celebrate whatever they've built - it's a start. If you do it right, other very smart people will want to be part of the excitement, and soon you'll have a movement on your hands. From there, cultural change will evolve to feed your digital evolution. This shoot, aim, plan approach is anathema to old-school business models. Frankly, it breaks all the rules. But isn't breaking the rules exactly what innovation is all about?

Kristina: Is "going digital" enough to keep companies competitive? Should they consider and overall innovation strategy, not just a digital one?

Kirby: Many of today's innovation drivers are inherently digital - wearables, mobile, automation, and internet of things - so for most industries, innovation equals digital. However, there are components available to innovation leaders that transcend technology alone. People related opportunities to improve productivity run the gamut from deconstruction of traditional organizations to optimized physical environments that encourage collaboration and teamwork. Process improvements, too, can yield impressive results, but again we aren't talking about massive BPM projects. Automating and innovating processes is best done in small groups, using agile, fail-fast and learn models.

Tags: advertising, digital business tips, digital marketing, ecommerce, Mendix

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