How can you develop a digital strategy for your organisation?


Find out how a successful digital strategy delivers powerful business benefits and customer value – and how an expert consultancy can help you develop and implement it.

Every organisation today needs to have a strategy for how it uses digital technology to drive better outcomes for the business, its employees and its customers.

But what is a digital strategy – and how do you create and implement it successfully?

What is a digital strategy?

Taking a strategic approach to the role of digital technology in your organisation is vital to deliver successful outcomes. Your digital strategy will typically consist of a combination of elements that define your approach, detail the factors to consider, and set out how they come together – including:

  • Research
  • Definition of the vision
  • Implementation plan
  • Definition of Jobs To Be Done
  • Solution architecture
  • Service blueprint 
  • Roadmap
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Financials

Focusing your digital strategy on customer needs

Your digital strategy must align with your business objectives – particularly in meeting the needs of your users and customers. A good way to stay targeted on this is the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework. This enables you to think about what customers actually want to achieve, and how technology can enable better ways to do this. It frees your strategy from the way things are done today – to focus on the ideal future state.

Understanding your digital status and capabilities

Before you can move forward with planning your digital strategy, you need a clear understanding of your current status. Start by gaining an overview of your digital landscape, strengths and challenges. Ideally, conduct in-depth research into your technology and processes, and interview or survey your leaders, teams, customers and other stakeholders.

Defining your digital strategic vision

Your digital vision describes what your business wants to be from a digital perspective. This vision forms the core of your overall digital strategy describing how you will make it happen. You need to define a forward-looking digital vision that provides a detailed picture of your organisation’s desired future state, as enabled by technology. This sets out what challenges you will solve for customers, how they will engage with your products and services – and what your teams, ways of working, and overall business will be like.

Building a digital strategy implementation plan

With a defined vision, you need a practical plan to make it a reality. You should construct a pragmatic and achievable implementation plan for your digital strategy. This outlines the steps your team will take to achieve your shared goals and objectives. It combines process and action, covering all aspects of the initiative – from overall scope and estimated budgets, to the channels, assets, platforms and tools required.

Mapping out your digital solution architecture

You need to create a clear strategic framework for your digital solutions. Your solution architecture is a detailed description of your digital product or service, combining guidance from a range of business, information and technical viewpoints.

Visualising your digital service blueprint

By making a service blueprint of your digital offering, you can visualise the elements and process flow of a digital service in detail. Creating a service blueprint works in two ways. Firstly it gives you a clear picture of the way things are today, so you can identify issues to address. Secondly it enables you to evolve an improved service design, structure and workflow that your team can agree on – before you begin actual development.

Charting a digital strategy roadmap for your future

Having your strategy in place gives you an agreed plan for how to achieve your digital goals – but you also need consensus on when each stage will be progressed and delivered. Creating a roadmap for your digital strategy – with achievable timelines, clear milestones and a defined path to reach them – helps your team move forward with confidence.

Delivering measurable results from your digital strategy

To understand the success your strategy is delivering, you need measurable metrics of performance and agreed benchmarks to compare against. You should set and measure your digital progress against key performance indicators (KPIs) or objectives and key results (OKRs). It’s also important to gauge return on investment (ROI) and the financial benefit of digital initiatives on your bottom line. With the right data and reporting, you can prove that your strategy creates positive impact.

Driving digital transformation and technology modernisation

A key aspect of many digital strategies for established organisations is how to modernise and improve systems. Your digital strategy should consider how you make the best use of your legacy technology. It should also help you drive digital transformation for systems, processes and ways of working – in focused projects and across the wider business.

Innovating with new digital products and services

Your organisation must move from disconnected manual processes – to utilising digital products and services that transform the experience for customers and workforce. Your strategy should help you drive digital innovation – by creating fit-for-purpose tools that deliver better results.

How a digital strategy consultancy can help

Now that we have considered the elements of your digital strategy, let’s look in more detail at some of the key areas where a digital strategy consultancy can make a big difference to your strategic success.

Aligning internal stakeholders

A digital strategy consultancy will help you create vital alignment on your digital strategy among internal stakeholders across your organisation. This may include C-suite executives, departmental leaders, team managers, and the wider workforce.

Even a small-scale digital project will impact a range of stakeholders – and for an enterprise-wide digital strategy, stakeholder alignment becomes far more complex. A good consultancy will help you ensure that your stakeholders become enthusiastic enablers of the strategy, rather than resentful blockers to your progress. The data, processes and infrastructure needed for your strategy will reside in multiple domains across the organisation, so gaining stakeholder confidence and commitment is essential. 

Understanding the needs of customers and users

Your organisation’s digital strategy must be based on how it enables you to better meet the needs of your customers. For a B2B organisation, this can mean your external business customers. But it can also include your internal customers – employees that use the digital workplace tools and processes you provide.

Understanding the needs of these customers and users can be challenging. A digital strategy consultancy can help you build a clear picture of these needs, through quantitative and qualitative research, interviews and surveys of users and customers.

Researching the digital ecosystem

Your organisation and its digital strategy do not exist in a vacuum – they must succeed in a competitive landscape of other digitally-enabled businesses and fast-moving technology trends.

A digital strategy consultancy can help you understand this dynamic digital ecosystem, in order to frame your strategy accordingly.

To build a robust business case for digital change, they can conduct detailed research into market sizing, customer segments, the competitor landscape, and possible market opportunities.

Evaluating the trade-offs of build vs buy

When it comes to the technical implementation of your digital strategy, you will be faced with the dilemma of whether to buy off-the-shelf solutions – or build your own from scratch. Your digital strategy consultancy can provide expert evaluation and recommendations on whether to build versus buy. 

Choosing an existing product may be quick to implement and come with vendor support. But the licensing fees may be high – and the solution may be a sealed ‘black box’ with little or no scope to customise to your needs. 

By contrast, building your own solution makes it tailored to your specific requirements, and saves cost on ongoing licensing. But your organisation may feel unsure about having the necessary in-house capability to develop and maintain this.

An expert consultancy can advise on all aspects of your digital architecture, running a discovery and analysis process focused on helping you make the right technological choices. They can provide confidence on whether to build versus buy for each component or product, consulting with you on the trade-offs and relative risks before execution starts.

They will often recommend an approach that is not simply one choice or the other – but a carefully considered combination across each technology aspect, to obtain the best of both models.

In summary, working with a digital strategy partner like London-based consultancy Elsewhen, you can focus on your opportunities for transformation and innovation, building consensus and buy-in from stakeholders to make it happen. You can align your digital strategy to customer needs and your most pressing business goals. Your consultancy can help you create an action-oriented business case, and bring your vision to life with a clear roadmap to your digital future.

Businessner editorial team
Businessner editorial team is a fast-growing business website with deep financial, media, tech, automotive, and other industry verticals.