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Three Steps to Starting Your Digital Strategy

Part 3 of 3: The Digital Strategy Series

The previous two blogs in The Digital Strategy Series, looked at Why do I need a Digital Strategy - I already have one and How to Manage Change and Risk - how using Agile tools and processes enable you to respond quickly and adapt in an ever-changing environment. This week, we look at where to start developing a Digital Strategy in three steps.

Step 1: Digital Demystification

As a first step, it is a good idea to provide an opportunity for your teams to get to grips with what the digital revolution is all about and to understand what such terms as digital strategy and digital transformation mean. Teams have chance to explore and engage with what the opportunities might be, for achieving greater impact for beneficiaries. In order to ensure team buy-in, it is important to create space for everyone to explore where you are going and take the ‘fear’ out of digital. We call this Digital Demystification.

Doing this has another advantage: people often start to come-up wth innovative ideas straight away and because they understand where you are going there is a motivation and buy-in to making them happen. We once did a 15 minute demystification session with a couple of people and within 5 minutes, 6 options had been generated!

Digital Demystification can unite different departments and people with different skills around a problem to be solved together. It helps them identify the links between their focal points for digital strategies.

Step 2: Gap Analysis

Our GAP Analysis is designed to take stock of where you are compared to the features commonly seen in ‘digitally transformed’ organisations i.e. those that have developed and implemented digital strategies around operations, technology and people. It also means you and the team can capture all the things you already know about and have been wanting to tackle; starting from the more comfortable position of what you already know.

What does Gap Analysis achieve?;

  • Options can be further explored and evaluated
  • Tasks which can be done in parallel or must be done sequentially can be identified
  • Costs and payback established
  • Priorities set. The aim is to build out from what already exists in bite-size steps.

The GAP Analysis would cover the following areas:

  • IT infrastructure
  • Supporters, marketing, CRM and website
  • Beneficiaries
  • Other stakeholder groups
  • Finance
  • Collaborative working
  • Enterprise information and knowledge management
  • HR, organisational culture, management & leadership
  • Innovation

We firmly believe that digital provides lots of innovative opportunities for pursuing your mission but it also provides real opportunities for making existing systems slicker: ones which better serve stakeholders and save money, freeing up resources. We will talk about this more in a future blog.

Step 3: Strategy Hack

These approaches are what might be called ‘bottom-up’ approaches - they work from what you know. You need to do this but because you are so familiar with your current strategy and operations you may not be able to see the really innovative ideas. Innovative solutions work best when they are simple. So, we advocate a Strategy Hack. This is where you share your mission, vision and perhaps a little of your strategy, with a team of digitally literate people. You then ask them how they would set about achieving your mission starting with a blank canvas.

You can then weld together the bottom-up and top down approaches.

We're here to help

Our vision at PlanLab is that the not-for-profit sector would be known for being innovative in its thinking, quick to respond to external events, excellent stewards of its resources and closely in touch with its beneficiaries and supporters. A digital strategy is fundamental to achieving this.

If you'd like to talk to us about facilitating one or all of these three steps, towards your Digital Strategy, we'd be more than happy to chat.

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