At this point in time, there’s no denying of the fundamental and transformative impact digitization has on any business. It would be the height of irresponsibility not to take a keen interest in such matters, especially for a CFO, who has the paramount task of developing and defining overall growth strategies for your organization.

As we round off 2015, the following outlines should provide a clear roadmap for becoming a digital winner:

1. Use digital capabilities to close opportunity gaps and ward off threats
The disruptive nature of technology informs which businesses live or die. Its democratizing essence drastically reduces the barrier of entry for new players who bring with them new and efficient inclinations.

This requires businesses (currently owning a particular sector for example) to be on guard by placing tremendous emphasis on opportunity gaps so they ward off threats by:

  • Allowing for seamless collaboration between third party clients
    Since many customers, suppliers, stakeholders and employees are already ingrained in the digital ecosystem, take advantage of such channels by creating diverse content that is accessible and aids in the development of online tribes. This ultimately creates a low cost environment and community wherein these parties can solve problems that arise for themselves with little or no input from you.
  • Utilizing the power of big data to make effective managerial decisions
    The information gleaned from the numerous algorithms and social technologies should be used to making verdicts that leads to the overall performance across business functions. As such, capital investment must be placed towards such Internet of things.

2. Think like a start up
In order to compete effectively in this digital age, industry incumbents need to adopt the thinking of start-ups: small and lean. This arguably is one of the most difficult things to do as a brand behemoth of a category.

Due to the fact that startups don’t have the same economies of scale or distribution networks that most big established brands have, they compete effectively by then creating subcategories (through the mining of information on the incomes, risks, incomes and preferences of potential customers), which allows them to also undercut their price offering, ultimately give established brands a run for their money.

3. Set audacious goals using a digital lens
One of the greatest benefits that digitization affords businesses is the ability to set ambitions that can be interpreted as irrational and overtly aspirational.

Such atypical approach forces businesses to not only see their existing digital channels are mere communication channels, but as commanding value-creating conduits, forceful growth drivers, novel market share creators and overall cost crashers.

In addition, they are able to birth innovative and groundbreaking initiatives because of such prodigious targets.

4. Digital skills is a must for talent recruitment
In order to stay competitive in this digital age, you need employees who have such unique technological skills and are fluent in such speak. As such, businesses need to start acquiring talent with unique capabilities from a wide range of other industries, and also, place an emphasis on digital skills versus industry experience.

What this then does is that it widens the range and quality of talent –which in turn strategically positions the firm to move into adjacent and new markets to compete, in part because of the eclectic force and skill that this new crop of digital savvy staff bring to the table.

5.Continue to be consumed with your customer
One of the profound benefits of the digital age is that it affords companies to better and intimately understand their clients – the good, bad and ugly – at a granulated level.

With all the available channels and digital avenues that technological advancements affords, brands are able to track, analyze and comprehend their consumer’s habits. This in turn helps companies to go beyond what is deemed normal and into the extraordinary, thereby fortifying brand loyalty.

As you know, consumers might forget your brand messaging, but they never forget how you make them feel. Said digital investments helps with the continued reinforcement of positive brand bias in the mental folders of your consumer.

I hope that these five pointers have given you an in-depth understanding and a unique perspective on how digital investments can be your choice ally towards achieving astronomical business heights. 

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