Don’t fall into the old CIO trap when forging a digital strategy

Don’t fall into the old CIO trap when forging a digital strategy

If your digital strategy doesn’t include how you’re going to make money from a digital initiative, you’re doing it wrong: The Data Mill reports.

Companies have become obsessed with all things digital. But here’s the harsh reality: They’re also introducing ways to erode their own business, leaving them “on the cusp of one hell of a reckoning,” Mark McDonald, managing director at the consultancy Accenture plc, said during his talk at Fusion 2015 hosted by WTN Media.

Instead of building a strategy that addresses how the business will make money on digital initiatives, CIOs and business leaders have been relying on the old way of doing things — finding business cases, developing road maps and procuring technology. The danger of this business-as-usual approach? CIOs are allowing themselves to be seduced by digital eye candy — tantalizing use cases, new technology — rather than thinking about what’s profitable for their businesses.

McDonald’s warning was like the digital version of a record scratch, coming as it did after a talk by J Schwan.

Schwan, CEO and founder of Solstice Mobile in Chicago, Ill., a mobile consulting firm, talked about emerging digital trends such as human-centered design and the power of cutting edge technologies like contextual computing and interapp communication a la Apple’s HealthKit and Epic’s MyChart applications. “IT needs to build systems of experience,” Schwan said.

He highlighted companies that are mapping out the “customer journey” with a brand — from first to last touch — and developing new products or services that enrich the experience. American Airlines, for one, introduced mobile notifications that provide GPS and road traffic information to passengers in addition to what have become the more standard notifications about flight delays and gate information.

Schwan’s talk set a high (and exciting) digital bar, but McDonald made it clear: Getting there won’t be simple, and, in some cases, won’t be worth the investment. “You can’t just say, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we eliminated all of the friction of how you get to the airport,'” McDonald said. “You have to ask the fundamental question of who the hell will pay for it and how the hell do we get that money into our coffers.” Otherwise, businesses run the risk of increasing costs without increasing revenue.

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