Inside iProspect

Is Digital Strategy Dead?

Do you remember this famous photo comparison between the last two pope conclaves?

The top photo is from 2005 and the bottom one is from 2013. This alone shows you how the world has become digital.

During a conference called "Digital strategy is dead" held last Friday at the Google office in Montreal, Nectarios Economakis, partner at PNR and ex-Googler, indicated that technology must be integrated into the DNA of organizations. Here is a summary of his speech and our views on the topic. 

Digital VP: soon to be obsolete?

For centuries, since electricity was a new technology, many companies had a “VP of Electricity”. There was a need to effectively integrate electricity into the organizational operation. It was with this interesting anecdote Nectarios introduced the concept of evolutionary behavioral changes. We may laugh, but what will the next generation say when they remember that we had a "Digital VP"? Today it is important for companies to integrate digital into their mission and how they work, but tomorrow this will be quite obvious. Yet, it's a safe bet that there will always be people in charge of Human Resources.   

The exponential growth becomes commonplace

Technology is progressing quickly at an exponential rate and organizations must adapt at the same rate.

Source: Mike Malone / Salim Ismail, Exponential Organizations

Just like Tesla, Uber and Snapchat, some companies act proactively instead of taking the back seat and reacting. Nectarios indicated that for years Amazon has been ensuring its future by reinvesting its profits, particularly in technology.

Companies that stand out in their industry often play the technology card in revolutionizing conventions. Yes, it’s possible for an already established company to continue its success without revolutionizing its internal model, however it’s clear that this is not the case for new players.  Technological change does exist though for already established companies. Volkswagen also recently played with technology, but between Tesla and VW who has the best strategy? In the future which vehicles do you see dominating our streets?

Take the right organizational digital shift 

According to Nectarios, no organizational strategy exists without being very closely linked to digital. Therefore digital strategy cannot exist in its own, since it is part of the overall strategy of an organization. Building a bridge between both IT and Marketing is very helpful as these two departments are often too remote in their objectives and their way of thinking. We already know that in order to create corporate cohesion we need to avoid evolving in a silo. This link is absolutely crucial for the digital future of a company.

I noticed that in all industries that have governance, ownership and management of digital data, it is often problematic, and a common shared vision of Marketing and IT is essential in order to solve the problem. This is ideal when the vision is driven by management itself and is in line with the business objectives. Data is everywhere and just waiting to be processed and analyzed in order for it to be understood. Certain treasures exist in this mass of noise, and their discoveries can shake up an organizational strategy. 

For the bravest only 

Nectarios reminded us that Agile marketing is not just a fad, but a way of thinking and performing. Trial and error are part of the best practices in order to achieve excellence (or to get as close as possible to perfection). At iProspect, A/B type behavioral testing is an essential part of our strategies; whether it's on the media side or on our clients’ websites. These initiatives, however, ask all parties involved to be brave because some risk (measured) is involved. It also means that we accept a certain ignorance. I would also add that uncertainty still remains present within organizations which allows us to achieve some success. For example, by practicing continuous learning: on an individual scale but especially for the whole company. Once again this requires willingness and being able to reinvent oneself. No guts, no glory.

The digital strategy term will no longer be relevant because it will no longer need to exist when all of your organizational strategies become digital. Meanwhile, Nectarios Economakis pointed out a few good tricks on the evolution of your organizational foundation.

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