Strategy for making true digitalization a reality

Published 14 Nov 2019

To truly achieve digitalization within a company, you need to have a clear strategy. When the strategy work yields results, this creates space for new business possibilities, new arenas to operate on, a larger client base, and better collaborations.

For a company to achieve its business goals, it needs a strategy – this is something that most of us are aware of today. The strategy must, in its turn, have support within the organization, so that it includes employees, clients, suppliers, and collaborating partners. Making it a reality requires the help of digitalization.

“The strategy should be synonymous with the digital strategy and, to deliver results, it must be implemented in practice. The importance of working actively with the company’s strategy and continuously revisiting and updating it can facilitate proactivity when business conditions change. You can readily and efficiently move from word to action. You become able to quickly discover new parties on the market, potential client groups, coming trends and other mechanisms, like urbanization or sustainability, that might affect the strategy and business model,” says Bertil Nordlund, a senior consultant at Knowit Insight, with a background that includes experience from the public sector.

A vital piece of the puzzle in strategy work, which lately has gained a new meaning, is market intelligence. The strategy perspective has changed. In the past, strategies were set with a perspective from the inside, looking out. Today, it is the other way around. Companies ensure that phenomena that arise in their surroundings are translated into business opportunities, and can act across geographical borders. This creates endless possibilities.

“If you continuously revisit the strategy, you can afford being experimental in its execution. It is important to dare to take risks and experiment, explore and try things out, while always learning and evaluating if the strategy is moving the company in the right direction. In this kind of evaluation, you need data and market intelligence. This will provide the basis for the next revision of your strategy in the ongoing strategy work,” says Carin Strindmark, one of our specialists in efficiency and automation.

The greatest gain from daring to quickly test things out, take calculated risks and continuously revisit the strategy is that you have every possibility of stopping things that are not working, well before costs get out of hand.

The culture – a competitive advantage

Today, the organizational culture can create a clear competitive advantage and is something that a company must work actively with, so the strategy is more than just a plan: it needs to be implemented in the organization. Culture must not be forgotten in the strategy work. Employees need to understand why the organization is going somewhere – not just where it is going. Both clients and suppliers prefer a collaboration partner with a clear cultural identity. There needs to be a higher purpose in order for the strategy to be sustainable.

“It’s not enough just to communicate a strategy, it must be observed and gain support within the organization. This is really about building a culture where employees can feel that they are delivering in accordance with the strategy and contributing to the company’s results and future by doing so,” says Bertil.

Four tips – how to get the strategy to deliver

So, one key factor to achieve success with your strategy is working with it continuously. Here are a few more tips on how you can get your strategy to deliver. By combining them, you will get the best effect.

Test, evaluate and revisit the strategy often. Digitalization can be one way to realize the strategy and your business goals. This doesn’t mean that the strategy has to be digital. Make sure to establish work processes and routines that work, and shape them so they allow for you to test things out, evaluate them, and continuously adapt your strategy.

To understand your clients, you need to understand the world around you. Today, there is a lot of information available – both your own open data and that of others – and you need to both analyze it and make decisions based on it. This is necessary in order to understand the world around you and your clients. Dare to involve your clients in the strategy work – invite them to work groups, gather valuable input through interviews and using other methods. Raise your gaze and look beyond your own industry sector. Look at others and gain inspiration from them.

Prioritize what is important and worth testing. You can do a lot, but you can’t do everything. Determine in which areas you need most staying power and what is most important for your operations. Prioritize the things you want to focus on and make active, informed decisions about what can be excluded from the strategy and why.

Build a culture where employees are involved in and activated by the strategy. The strategy has to be embraced by employees and they need to feel that they are contributing to it. Build a strategy where employees are activated in the strategy work. The greater the number of employees involved – and the more involved they are – the easier it will be to communicate and adhere to the strategy. This, in turn, means that you will jointly create a strategy that everyone is committed to and works to achieve.

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Bertil Nordlund
Head of Strategy
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