Call to Action — Digital Strategy

by Joan Smith, Global Leader, Protiviti Digital

Concerns about near- and long-term issues frame a tough environment for strategists and executives tasked to bring a digital mindset to sustaining strategic relevance and continuously improving customer-facing and back-office processes. Leaders need only reflect on the reimagining of business since the turn of the century to gauge the implications of accelerated change over the next decade. Speed and scale are being augmented with greater bandwidth at lower costs, enabling new ways to connect with customers and a transformation of how companies as well as whole industries operate. That is why companies should undertake appropriate steps over the near term to ensure they remain connected to the customer experience, invest in future growth, and position themselves to innovate and compete during the next phase of growth as well as in the evolving global economy over the longer term. To that end:

  • Start with data-driven customer insights. Collect the data needed to uncover and connect deep customer insights vital to informed business decisions and operational improvements at the speed needed to compete and retain market relevance.
  • Connect technology to customer value. View technology in terms of the customer experience rather than the customer process. Combine a sales, service and marketing perspective and customer behavioral insights to break through internal barriers and drive improvements to the customer experience. Focus on harmonization between automation and personalization that meets customers’ expectations of a personalized experience yet often requires an integration of competencies across the organization that can be challenging to orchestrate.
  • Weave innovation into the fabric of your operating model. In today’s market, a truly differentiated business or customer strategy is harder to maintain and easier to replicate than it used to be. Ways of working that infuse innovation into the business — with the intention of continuously differentiating in the market — are required to sustain competitive advantage. Couple technology and business operations expertise with insightful customer knowledge and an innovative culture that encourages experimentation to design new products, business models and growth strategies facilitated by automation and digital agility. Apply an innovative mindset across all areas of the business to foster value-added outcomes in growing and scaling the business.
  • Employ agility as a business mindset versus just a methodology. Uncertainty is here to stay. Yet with uncertainty also comes opportunity. Organizations need to create flexibility and infuse agility into operating principles and processes to navigate continued waves of change. Prioritization and the ability to flex to take advantage of new potential value streams, rapidly solve for jobs to be done, and facilitate pivots for changing customer needs, shifts in supply/demand or advances in enabling technology will prove decisive in defining the companies that emerge as leaders from periods of downturn or business disruption.
Ways of working that infuse innovation into the business are required to sustain competitive advantage.


Joan Smith is a Managing Director and leader of Protiviti Digital, which includes strategy, transformation, customer experience, creative and technology. Joan has 20+ years of applied experience across both the digital and customer landscape, guiding CMOs and Digital ...


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