What does digital mean to you and your business?

The Manufacturer’s digital strategist, Hayden Richards discusses the importance of taking a proactive approach with your digital strategy in 2016.

Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer
Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer

As 2016 kicks off, many firms are contemplating and budgeting for new technological spends, perhaps realising they are in danger of being left behind.

Last year, Citrix predicted 2016 as the watershed year for manufacturing, with the industry set to be ‘reinvented’ by trends in areas including automation, 3D printing and big data.

The fact that Citrix recommends businesses strive to be data-driven and ‘compete on experiences’ should surprise no-one, yet I am sure for some, the focus will solely be on technology, while ignoring the equally important task of finding new methods of customer engagement.

This is because the term ‘digital’ means different things to different people. In a June McKinsey & Company article, it’s suggested that ‘executives must arrive at a common vernacular as to what the term means’.

They warn, rather than adopting a herd-like mentality, it would be more effective to focus internally and get the digital-culture right within the company.

In a follow up article, authors Karel Dörner and David Edelman make the point that there is no room for uncertainty as, “Business leaders must have a clear and common understanding of exactly what digital means to them, and as a result, what it means to their business.”

Are you willing to re-examine and revamp your existing business models? Now is not the time for a conservative approach.

Being digital might mean going after new aligned markets or creating new value in familiar territory.

You should always ask yourself could digital affect you negatively? Is there room to innovate AND disrupt?

Dörner and Edelman suggest four capabilities firms must possess based on customer input:

  1. Proactive decision making
  2. Contextual interactivity
  3. Real-time automation
  4. Customer journey focused innovation