“Evolution is the very crux of continuation of life.”
According to Darwinian evolutionary theory, ‘survival of the fittest’ affirms the mechanism of natural selection that drives the evolution of life. In the industrial domain, the evolution of businesses adheres to the theory of natural selection—the company/organization aligning with the latest norms stays atop. Evolving business strategy has kept the flame of corporate burning through every stage of change.
In the pre-pandemic world, digital business strategy was an undermined notion within the business world. Only a handful of organizations leveraged digitization to scale their business. In the post-COVID world, digitization has become the heavily adopted norm. Companies had to opt for digital in order to propel their organizational operations. COVID-19 taught the importance of emerging trends and incorporations such as the internet, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, and much more.
We are aware of the vitality of business strategy in the continuation of the wheel of organizations. This was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when every organization was compelled to adapt to the abrupt changes in the market sphere. To quote Darwin’s popular postulate again, only those with effective business strategies could manage to thrive. However, we are yet to witness the exponential growth of industries and enterprises and every development boils down to the core success element—evolving business strategy.
Anatomy of Strategy (Business edition)
The definition of strategy was comprehensively coined by Professor Micheal (Henry Mintzberg) and Max MacKeown (English writer). They defined strategy as a ‘pattern in a stream of decisions’ and about ‘shaping the future’ respectively. On the other hand, complexity theorists define strategy as the unfolding of the internal and external aspects of the organization that results in actions in a socio-economic context.
Developing a pattern and shaping the future requires a robust foundation in order to be successful. Successful strategies are built on the following stones:
- Precise overall vision
- Breaking down that vision into respective plans of action
- Changing or reevaluating the plans on key performance indicators.
Every strategic process has a beginning or a starting point. In the case of businesses, this starting point is derived from the organizational need to adapt, compete and evolve within a competitive market. Companies must constantly evolve in order to remain competitive, relevant, and innovative. While scaling the success of an organization or a company, ensuring strategic business development can serve as one of the key factors in driving growth and development.
In a nutshell, a business strategy is a document containing various key principles that outline how companies will achieve their respective organizational goals. It may contain insights concerning competitor analysis, latest industrial targets, revised brand image/voice, and much more.
‘Change is the Only Constant’—Digital Business Strategy
Over the past few years, business strategies have evolved drastically with latest incorporations and amendments in business tactics. Several companies have adopted latest measures in their business styles to comply with the evolving customer as well as market requirements. The recent COVID-19 pandemic compelled a digital transformation on a global scale. Companies adapted to digital measures for sustaining during challenging times.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave birth to the worldwide adoption of online business models. Thus, evolving business strategy in 2021 implied the incorporation of digital methodologies and tactics for remaining intact with the organizational goals and mission—leading to the concept of digital business strategy. Today, technology has become the vital element for every evolving business strategy. As companies move further into the era of digital transformation, digital strategy becomes equivalent to business strategy. Or we can also quote that, “Digital strategy has become the essence of business strategy.”
Understanding Digital Business Strategy
Digital strategy is centralized on technology. Digital strategy is relevant to changes in business models, and uses technology to create the capabilities a company needs to become a digital business. Setting down a strategy is a key component of the transformation process, and ensures that technology is being implemented in a way that supports the business objectives.
Some common elements of a digital business strategy are:
Choosing a Leader:
For creating a digital strategy, the leader’s influence must match the scope of digital strategy; otherwise, it will be difficult to create the full buy-in from each department necessary to make effective changes.
Attack vs. Defend:
McKinsey & Company emphasizes that companies would do well to categorize their potential threats and opportunities in digital business, then compare these against their own purpose. This clarifies whether a proactive or defensive stance needs to guide new initiatives.
Taking a Measured Approach:
Digital strategy often incorporates a process for assessing whether new technology will really complement or grow the current business. By taking a measured approach, wastage of resources on initiative that do not align with the business needs and priorities can be avoided.
The goal of digital transformation is to create an appropriate foundation for digital business. Digital strategy should be visionary enough to carry companies through changes in the digital economy, in a way that continues to bring a digital edge to the business.
Digital Business Strategy in Post-COVID World
The COVID-19 pandemic instigated uncertainty in every sector and sphere of life. Consumers drastically moved towards online channels and companies and industries responded reciprocatively. According to latest survey by McKinsey & Company, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the digitization of customer interaction by many years.
Here are some of the few pandemic lessons that can be incorporated whilst drafting latest business strategy with context to digital strategy:
- The highest-performing companies made bolder investments in technology and possess stronger overall capabilities.
- Having a clear vision with a well-defined digital approach can help better understand the emerging technological advent.
- Incorporating innovation, creativity and flexibility in the business strategy enable the opportunity to adapt and adhere during challenging times, while providing the ability to better harness digitization and technology.
- Being transparent with their consumer base and employees is crucial to the swift functioning of an organization and its employees.
- Instead of panicking or making quick, short-term decisions that wouldn’t help the business in the long run, looking at how to leverage their existing resources and adjust capabilities in the current environment can be beneficial in the long run.
- Whether it is in the way people work and collaborate or in the way a company knows and serves customers, digital technology gives a wealth of opportunity.
Evolving Business Strategy: The Conclusive Note
While going somewhere, we require a headstart and a map for navigating our pathway or destination. Business strategies serve as a compass for companies and organizations that help them pursue their respective paths of success. Business strategies help create a vision and direction for the entire organization in alignment with the organizational goals, mission, vision and core values.
The global COVID-19 pandemic revealed the importance of having a comprehensive and relevant business strategy in order to thrive amidst times of crisis. Moreover, the digital shift induced by the pandemic can serve as an example of how it is essential for companies and organizations to keep track of and amend their business strategies in accordance with the latest or emerging trends within the industry. The evolution of business strategies through the course of time is evident to the fact that constant reconfiguration of plans and strategies can increase the odds of success for business. Large organizations such as Google, Amazon, Alibaba, and many more, began within a confined space. Due to effectual and robust business strategies, these companies thrived and made a remarkable impact on global levels. Evolving business strategy is the proof that businesses thrive when they amend, adopt and adapt.
“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”— Mark Zuckerberg (Founder, Facebook)
Read Full Magazine: Top 10 Finest CEO’s of 2021.