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Digital is all about change, and it starts with some important questions

‘If I had some idea of the finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?’ - Bill Gates

Since the 31st of October, I have broken out "Digital Is Everyone’s Business" into a series of blogs. If you haven’t read the book but read every blog, you have, in effect, read the book and this is the last blog in the series. “What’s Your Digital Business Model?” is a book written by Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner. The opening sentence of the book states that ‘digital transformation is not about technology - it’s about change. And it’s not a matter of if, but a question of when and how’. Weill and Worner concluded that to be digital you need:

  • Greater customer intimacy; referred to as getting closer to end customers.

  • Moving to a digital ecosystem; shifting from legacy supplier models to digital ecosystems.

Weill and Worner found in their research three capabilities of successful digital businesses:

  1. The creation of digital content of products and information with regular refreshes to drive new revenue.

  2. Multiple digital channels and multiple digital-products (or customer experiences) create cross-selling opportunities.

  3. Internal and external digitised platforms contribute to greater margins.

After reading their excellent book, some clients asked me about the when and how for their business. That is why I incorporated S-Curves and Differentiation to the three digital points above (here are the links to the blogs on S-Curves and Differentiation). The questions below have helped clients or attendees in workshops consider possible actions. They are applied to multiple businesses within an organisation, as they are often at different maturity stages.

Spring is a time to complement existing offerings and develop the new.

  • Relationships: who controls the relationships and how exclusive are they?

  • Brand: how does your product or service differentiate?

  • Switching costs: how do you ease transacting and then the ability to lock customers in?

Summer is the optimisation season, like Spring but with upstream and downstream analysis.

  • Relationships: who controls the relationship and how exclusive are they?

  • Switching costs: if a customer decides to switch, is it a big effort?

Autumn thoughts move to incubating for the next cycle.

  • Switching costs: you want a ‘sticky’ group of customers for yourself but also for your competitors as this can help alleviate price competition.

  • Market share: do customers have little choice and are they required to align?

Winter how can you innovate to extend the season, or is it time to end it?

  • Costs: can you sustain differentiation beyond being the lowest cost?

  • Market share: can your past strength drive future success with a pure digital business model?

Everything is linked, being a connected and dependent eco-system, sometimes seen but often not understood. Organisations who have an ongoing commitment to asking difficult questions and subsequent thinking will likely improve the probability of their digital outcomes in our ever-changing world. Many need help to do this, and is one my of roles in the world.

Thank you for reading this series. I would love to know your thoughts and welcome these with any questions; here is my email.


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