Building an effective digital business strategy

The world has become a digital hub. From retail to banking to higher education, consumers now demand seamless digital interactions as a minimum. Indeed, the majority (84%) of consumers expect brands to adopt new digital solutions in the next year. Businesses can’t afford to ignore customer demands for a digitally enhanced offering and must establish their own digital strategy to create a competitive advantage through technology. 

Nearly all businesses have faced a point where they could either choose to leave their comfort zone and grow or remain stagnant. Infamously, Blockbuster had the chance to buy Netflix in 2000; similarly, Kodak could have become a contemporary Samsung, if they had chosen to invest in the digital camera. What these examples show is that adapting may be risky – but in the long-term, evolution is the only solution for growth. 

Why build a digital business strategy?  

In the era of digital transformation, everyone is scrambling to connect the unconnected. However, before generating vast volumes of data, businesses must consider why they wish to do so. While the huge numbers of devices that IoT represents can provide businesses with vast amounts of data, which can subsequently be used to improve and personalise the customer experience, optimise the workforce, or improve operational efficiency, how they access this data, make sense of it, and then monetise it is critical? Digital tools and platforms such as the IoT can be incredibly useful for launching a business’ innovation and growth, but if the data sits untouched, then these same tools can prove costly investments, which fail to provide the transparency and convenience a business needs.  

 As a result of the pandemic, businesses are being forced to reckon with the structure of their workplaces and the nature of their productivity.  Just as transparency can make visible the customer experience to a business, the human factor must equally be understood within the context of employee efficiency and satisfaction. If an organisation’s employees are unable to navigate the new digital tools being implemented, then businesses create a disconnect between their technological innovation and their business processes – costing companies both money and time.  

Finally, while integrating new digital solutions can be exciting, business security must be prioritised above all else. Cybercrime is now no longer just an IT issue, but a challenge in the boardroom. In the last year, three-quarters of all organisations experienced a phishing attack, and cybercrime is only set to grow, with it expected to increase by 15% each year.  While in the past, a simple firewall may have been enough to protect the data of both employees and customers, now every organisation must consider and develop a security infrastructure.  

Despite the challenges of navigating the IoT, optimising the modern workplace and enabling security, digital transformation is feasible – if businesses move past excitement over shiny new toys and towards consideration of where these products fit into their long-term business plans. Integrating the digital strategy into any business plan is the solution towards rectifying these problems and creating a platform that customers wish to use. 

Start with 3 key factors  

Developing an effective digital business strategy has three core components:  

  • Adaptability 
  • Security  
  • Observability  

Investing in a platform or a solution that cannot adapt to overcome unexpected business challenges is ultimately ineffective. Businesses must be able to flex and transform according to changing circumstances – responding to both immediate concerns as well as issues that may arise in the future. 

Secondly, security must be integrated into the platform, by design, rather than as an afterthought. Previously, businesses treated security like protecting Rapunzel in a tower, with static data centres surrounded by a variety of security solutions, to be added continuously as needed. However, while moats, soldiers, and dozens of security vendors can be effective at slowing an attack, this defensive strategy falls apart if cybercriminals sneak in, dressed as knights in shining armour. Instead, to prevent a Trojan horse stealing your data, security must be built into the network from the beginning.  

Finally, observability is key to a successful digital strategy. Turning hindsight into foresight allows businesses to establish an offensive business strategy and to responds to issues before they arise. It is critical that businesses can see anything that could affect the user experience and understand if there are any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the application, the infrastructure or the network. Problems with any of these components can and will adversely affect the experience the user gets from the application, and it is therefore critical that we can monitor and remediate issues in any of these areas. 

Align, Transform, Scale  

Logicalis’ strategic partnership with Cisco enables us to act as an advisory sounding board for businesses looking to build a digital strategy. Our proven methodology coupled with Cisco’s best-in-class technologies means organisations can optimise their approach and achieve their transformation vision.  

First, Logicalis works closely with customers to understand their business challenges and objectives before building a digital platform to fulfil those needs. It’s not a one size fits all approach. Each business needs a certain level of customisation to achieve their objectives so we look to understand which tools are most relevant to an individual business’ needs, and how they can be implemented in a way that makes most sense to an organisation. 

We then ensure that we implement the solution correctly and optimise it based on the technology that Cisco produces. As a result, Logicalis prioritises education – ensuring employees understand how to use these tools. In addition, Logicalis works with a network that is designed to support the application. In this respect, observability is key. Businesses can see how their networks behave, and whether their applications can run efficiently, and subsequently, adapt the technologies they use to ensure a seamless customer experience.  

Finally, Logicalis is in constant communication and collaboration with customers to ensure the platform is delivering the results the business needs on an ongoing basis. We are continually modernising, innovating and scaling our solutions throughout the business lifecycle for long term growth.  

If we have learnt anything from the past year, it’s that it’s almost impossible to anticipate what is around the corner. An adaptable, secure and observable digital platform will ensure businesses are as prepared as possible to tackle disruption and major industry change. By partnering with an expert managed services provider, organisations can understand what digital strategy is best suited to them to fulfil their business goals and ensure business continuity no matter the circumstances.  

Learn more about how the Cisco/Logicalis partnership can help your business achieve your digital strategy with the Intelligent Digital Framework.