The Dimensions of Digital – This is not just about Technology

In the following article, I briefly introduce a practicable model called the ‘Dimensions of Digital’ (DoD). To give you an impression where Dimensions of Digital can be of value to you, just two examples:

  • You can take the Dimensions of Digital blueprint as a basis for considering your digital maturity and find answers to the question ‘Are you able to compete in digital environments?’
  • The application of this model lets you identify the areas requiring urgent action to fuel your Digital transformation roadmap

The Digital Buzz

Today, Digital is everywhere. Some people believe that new technologies can solve all problems both in business and private life and that so-called ‘robots’ can take over a large part of our daily work. I agree only in part with this thesis. The main reason is that Digital transformation is not solely about technology. You cannot plug in a new device, chatbot or AI (artificial intelligence) software and expect that a problem will be solved or work will be done.

The Kodak-Moment

For instance, user behavior and strategy are also ‘impacted’ by Digital change. Let me explain with a simple example: A few years ago, a classic and stable business model, based on developing and selling manual measurement technologies, was a goldmine. Today, this model has been disrupted by new competitors who understand how to adapt new technologies to make measurements as accessible and straightforward as possible for almost anyone. Think of thermal imaging cameras. Everyone can search online and buy or rent an affordable thermal imaging camera. With an easy-to-use ‘thermal imaging app’, everyone can use the device. The app is leveraged by new technologies, such as advanced analytics, to make the collected data readable, user-friendly and valuable to the user’s context. Consequently, the app user can immediately engage the app to find out if there is a requirement for action in his context. For example, he immediately receives information on whether or not he should insulate the roof of his house.

Perhaps an established company for measurement technologies has also already tested new technical possibilities such as advanced analytics and smartphone apps. But obviously, there was no clear idea of how to utilize those things to make their customers’ lives easier. In addition, there was a lack of management support for leveraging new technologies. A well-known example of this happened to Kodak. They invented the digital (photo) camera, but they did not expect that there would ever be a market for digital photography.

‘Dimensions of Digital’ (DoD)

Based on my experience, I carefully developed a model which contains the most relevant areas of Digital transformation. The core of the model consists of the six ‘Dimensions of Digital’, which I will briefly describe:

  1. Strategy & Leadership
    Does your company have the right strategy and the right leadership approach for competing in Digital environments?
  2. Organization, Culture & Skills
    Does your organizational structure enable Digital innovation and transformation? What about the company culture? Are the right people and skills available?
  3. Processes
    Do your corporate processes catalyze or impede Digital innovation and transformation? To what extent are your processes digitized?
  4. Technology
    Where do you use ‘Digital’ technologies? Are the available technologies flexible and agile enough to make Digital possible and enable Digital operations?
  5. Customer & User Experience
    Do you care and know enough about your customers and their needs to be successful in regard to Digital? To what extent are customers and users involved in optimizing your business?
  6. Products & Services
    Do you have the right products and services in place? Are your products and services digitized enough? What are the Digital strengths and weaknesses regarding your product and service portfolio?

As mentioned above, the Dimensions of Digital are a good basis to obtain an impression of your overall Digital maturity. Besides, the model helps you pinpoint the hot spots in the specific areas requiring action. However, in practice, your particular context (your industry, your challenges, etc.) also matters. Hence, I would recommend engaging an expert for guiding you through the corresponding assessment or transformation process.*

Technology is not enough

Now think again of the simple thermal imaging case above. You could explore new technologies and invest heavily in them (dimension ‘Technology’). But if there is no user-centric approach, the added value for users will not be identified (dimension ‘Customer and User Experience’). And, if senior management does not buy in to your Digital initiative, it will be a waste of time and money (dimension ‘Strategy and Leadership’).

For Digital challenges, I recommend checking whether at least three of the dimensions mentioned above were taken into consideration, or even better: more than three or all dimensions. And, by the way, the dimension ‘Strategy and Leadership, is key for success. If you do not take the other aspects into account and there is no lucky coincidence, you will likely fail.

Hopefully, my words have been able to make you think about your challenges in the Digital area and what to consider in this context. If necessary, I can provide support to you for applying this model in practice.* Amongst others, this model is part of my Digital Maturity Check. In this quick check, I guide you via a lean package based on two to three workshops. You will quickly understand where you stand today. And the resulting opportunities and pitfalls regarding Digital will be identified.

* Let’s arrange to discuss, by phone or in person, the aspects that matter most to you.


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