Lost in Digital Translation

18.04.2012 | Markkinointi | Ville Tolvanen

Lost in Digital Translation

Who understands digitalization? Not too many. The speed of change and development is extremely fast: Most companies simply can’t keep up the pace. Due to mobile, broadband, new devices, social media and the like, the digital transformation has taken a giant leap.

I’ve often said that ”everything that can be digital, will be digital.” Since digital services provide better, more powerful and more effective ways to handle things, the opportunities are limitless. The digital world will operate anywhere and everywhere. The possibilities are endless.

And how are companies following this all? Not too well. At least in the Nordic countries, I see a lot of companies have their IT department calling all the shots that involve anything that has to do with digital functions. Or, if not the IT department – and this is perhaps even worse, or just as bad: A couple of marketing managers are ”operating” (or scrambling) the digital strategy as a side function, while they take care of their other responsibilities.

I dare to assume that this is a worldwide phenomenon, not just something that happens in northern Europe. One of the big challenges, for so many companies, is to understand that digitalization is a responsibility for the entire corporation. Digitalization involves innovation management, R&D, HR, PR, marketing and communications, and so on. Yet, most companies have one department or a small group of marketing people making their ”digital decisions” in a silo – much or even entirely disconnected from the company’s overall strategy.

If digitalization is the biggest business opportunity of our lifetime, shouldn’t it involve the entire company, all operations? How can you give the responsibility of your best opportunity to a department that you don’t actually have a lot of respect for? How can the biggest change in our business environment be operated by some non-strategic support function? It’s time to wake up.

The challenges are complex and so are the solutions. Allow yourself at least a thousand days to form and fully implement your strategy. Your thinking, your marketing strategies and your operations will be affected. But do realize that it’s critical to start creating a new business strategy now. Your strategy will need to be digital truly across the board. And it will need to include room for change, on-going learning and recalibration – as a part of the plan.

In three years the web will again be different than it is today. Creating something strategically smart and effective in the digital channels will be an ongoing challenge. The competition is global. The pace is rapid. You need to constantly be learning, and you will need to accept some mistakes along the way. But what’s your learning curve if you’re totally missing the point?

It’s time to take the digital arena seriously. Like most new phenomena, also the internet had its moment of hype as well as it’s low points. We rode those initial high and low waves, and have now come to a somewhat of a balance point. We know it’ll entail constant growth and change. In order to keep up the pace, you need engage yourself in the ride, entirely, or you’ll be left out. The best time is right now. Start today.




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