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Thoughts / 08/13/2018

Digital Strategy: Time-Efficient, Action-Oriented Digital Strategy Workshop

Ever hire a strategist only to find that the road from that impressive report to results is long and that the world has changed before you even get a chance to implement the strategy?

Technology moves especially fast, so any digital strategy effort must be short, punchy, and point the way to a short, efficient path to an improved digital position for your business.

From Business Strategy to Product Vision

To get the most business momentum out of your digital investment (custom software development of specialized ERP solutions, SaaS and cloud platforms, and complex Websites), it’s important to properly target the features and prioritize their implementation.

In addition to basic feature set definition, you should carefully consider your competitive position relative to 21st-century software paradigms your competitors may be planning right now. If you’re investing in new software, should artificial intelligence or blockchain be integrated into your solution? Is your company or organization ready for the data demands of machine learning? Is a chatbot or audio assistant a good shortcut for your customer engagement platform?

DOOR3’s in-depth business visioning and digital strategy workshop is a quick and efficient way of combining all these basic and advanced product design issues into a thorough decision-making process that starts with identifying your business objectives and concludes with delivering a crisp, prioritized, and achievable product vision.

Digital Strategy Workshops with DOOR3 — An In-Depth Look

At DOOR3, we don’t just design and build beautiful, reliable software; we offer a full range of digital services that regularly solve a wide array of business challenges with custom software, web apps and other front- and back-office solutions. The reason we can always make a positive business impact for our clients is that before we all get lost in the minutiae of delivering a piece of software, we drive an immersive and collaborative digital strategy deep dive focused on a client’s business and operational needs and objectives. Only once we’ve achieved a joint understanding of these key priorities do we recommend highly targeted feature sets that can help fix your immediate problems while planning to serve your future needs as your business grows.

The Best Business Solution Isn’t Always the Obvious One

There are plenty of ways to apply your technology dollars in tactically useful but ultimately wasteful ways. The difference between bailing water and advancing your business is often obscured by the complexities of managing enterprise technology, including your existing IT staff, considerations of pre-existing sunk tech costs, technical and data cleanup needed before your business can make forward progress, and so on. It often feels easier — in the face of all this complexity — to just keep bailing water, but in the bigger picture, point solutions which solve narrow tactical problems outside the broader context of a business’s health are likely to bypass more insidious — and ultimately more important — underlying challenges that are at the real root of a company’s problems. And that can put you at a serious disadvantage relative to competitors who may be taking a more studied approach.

DOOR3’s process cuts through the fog of complexity, aligns your enterprise software investment with a clarified strategic vision, and provides an all-inclusive tactical roadmap for achieving that vision.

Defining Goals and a Digital Strategy for Improvement and Growth

When business objectives become central and guide software solution tactics and priorities in the discussions among stakeholders, the entire software effort becomes focused on delivering to key business performance benchmarks. This clarity of purpose streamlines all subsequent tactical and technical decision-making and avoids scope creep and meandering, saves costs, and hastens return on investment (ROI).

To create such clarity, we ask questions that peel away the mystique of technology and shed light on the fundamental purpose of the project being considered:

  • What business objectives are we trying to achieve?
  • What use of technology will move our business forward in a consciously chosen, effective, efficient and expedient way?
  • What are key challenges our business should solve with technology?
  • Do we most strongly aspire for the new technology to impact our revenue, our profitability, or our market position?
  • How should we prioritize our technology spend?
  • How do we measure the effectiveness of our digital spend?
  • What’s the least we can do to move the ball forward? What is the minimum viable product (MVP) that materially serves our objectives?
  • Which of the latest technology trends are impactful or important to our business’s evolution?

Asked in the right order and with the right follow-through, such questions elicit answers that drive feature prioritization, phasing, release timeframes, user experience design, testing approach, project economics, and many other factors that should be crystal-clear before development begins.

We don’t just ask questions. We contribute our expertise and broad experience with contemporary and emerging technologies to identify opportunities and recommend solutions which you might not have previously considered. Ever consider the impact of augmented reality and drones on your business? How about Internet of Things and Robotic Process Automation? Don’t worry, we will.

The result of a digital strategy engagement with DOOR3 is a larger set of options from which you can choose the best for your business, and be confident that you are doing so with vastly improved situational awareness than you had prior to the digital strategy workshop.

Digital Strategy as a Beacon

The most important predictor of digital project success is the business’s ability to stay focused on the core objectives. DOOR3’s process ensures that long after the digital strategy workshop is complete, the clarity of the identified objectives helps keep all stakeholders committed and aligned.

When a department head says: “I want to redirect 20% of the project budget to a dashboard useful only for my department,” it’s easy for other stakeholders to point to the clearly defined project charter and say: “Which of our defined project objectives does that serve? If none, perhaps that dashboard could be added at a later date — budget and time permitting — or even after initial launch.”

We enhance stakeholders’ ability to hold each other accountable to central project objectives, and this in turn leads to reduced overhead, faster time to launch (often measured in months or quarters), and dramatically reduced project costs. Not bad for a week or two invested in up-front strategy.

Logistics of a DOOR3 Digital Strategy Workshop

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Our digital strategy process, however, can be completed within a matter of two weeks. After a day or two of pre-workshop preparation, a team comprised of digital strategists, software architects, and UX designers work with your key stakeholders for just two or three days. This is followed by about week of data gathering so DOOR3’s specialists can get an inside look at the current state of your business and begin to envision a future state that better addresses your strategic, operational, and financial goals:

  • We look at challenges your business is facing in achieving growth and profitability.
  • We look at the key metrics by which you can or should measure your success in attacking these challenges.
  • We work together to understand or even help frame your unique value proposition as well as sustainable competitive advantages.
  • We look at the channels through which you reach your market and the challenges within those channels, and of course, the customer.
  • We also look at your financial story: How do you make money and what does it cost you to make it?

With this information in hand, we then determine the shape of a digital initiative that will solve for your core business issues, whether they are related to operational and cost issues, sharpening your value proposition to the market, or building additional competitive advantages.

Finally, we present our findings and recommendations, get your feedback, refine, and conclude with a set of recommendations that directly drive project execution that delivers on the agreed vision.

From Strategy To Action: Driving Your Digital Innovation Effort

By now, the digital strategy workshop has helped us gel as a team, created buy-in around key priorities which will govern the rest of the work, and established situational awareness of all factors which should be considered when planning and managing your digital effort.

Now, just a couple of weeks after engaging, we create positive forward momentum by transforming business priorities into:

  • A well-informed product vision: a high-level description of the appropriate digital solution that addresses your business objectives.
  • A prioritized roadmap outlining the steps by which the digital solution will be delivered. The roadmap even includes non-digital pre-requisites, if appropriate, and includes not just the MVP, but also - where appropriate - what subsequent phases are likely to comprise.
  • A detailed feature set making up steps in the roadmap and giving concrete shape to the product vision.
  • A budget and timeline that work for your business.

We have found that an execution plan backed up by a strategic vision, and a team culture where deviations from plan are examined in light of the agreed objectives, is the formula for a well-managed, successfully delivered project. And after 16 years and hundreds of successful project launches, this is a formula you can count on.

Let’s Discuss Your Business and Your Goals.

DOOR3 delivers the mission-critical business backbone solutions that increase operational efficiency and customer and employee engagement, create sustainable competitive advantage, and transform businesses. We don’t just develop digital solutions: Our teams have the talent, experience, and vision to take your project from strategic planning to finished product, with a proven process that makes it all possible. We can do the same for you.