What is digital?

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Why is digital like water?What is digital: bucket-of-rocks, The Myndset digital marketing & brand strategy Source: http://gravybread.wordpress.com/category/ufos/

When asking people “what is digital?” I tend to get a different answer from pretty much everyone I ask.  Yes, the pithy answer is that digital is immaterial.  It’s intangible.  A bunch of zero’s and one’s.  Digital is the opposite to analogue.  More poignantly, however, when it comes to how digital can play a role inside organizations, the answers become even more varied.  Everyone feels like digital has heavily impacted their lives and functions — if not turned them upside down.  Digital may well be abstract, but it has a way of seeping into every corner of the organization, just like water in a bucket full of rocks, stones and pebbles.  {Click to Tweet}  In this analogy, the rocks and stones are activities in our day.  Each day, even without digital, we seem to be fully occupied. But, now with digital devices and systems, every space, every free second can be filled up.  You don’t have to wait to find an answer, check wikipedia.  You don’t need to wait in line to pay, use a mobile payment.  Stuck in an elevator?  Check your emails.

Digital is like water in that it has an impact on pretty much everything.  There are very few digital ducks where water rolls off their backs!  {Click to tweet!}

 What is digital in a business context?

What is digital when it comes to the way business is run?  I like first to categorize the digital effect into internal and external zones.  Digital can be employed — and has an impact on — the back office.  For Human Resources, for example, we are talking recruiting techniques (LinkedIn, ChooseYourBoss, etc.), intranet and eLearning platforms, knowledge management systems, secure internal social media platforms, dynamic directories with self-ascribed expertises, etc.  For the IS department, there are so many critical components, I argue that IS needs a seat at the Executive Committee because technology infrastructure is now strategic.  An interesting area is Research & Innovation: depending on the profile of the company, the impact of digital on R&D could inward or outward looking.  Externally, digital has a role with all outward (i.e. customer) facing departments because the consumer is expecting and using digital as a matter of course:

  • customer service
  • marketing
  • sales
  • communications
  • and retail (eCommerce and brick & mortar)

What is digital, The Myndset digital marketing and brand strategy

Inasmuch as a company has determined what are the key objectives, digital has a more or less important role to play.  The question is not if, but where does one put the digital cursor.  And, then to allocate the resources and support to make it work, knowing upfront that experimentation and failure will be part of the process.

So, what is digital?  It is at once a threat and an opportunity.  Is your digital glass half full or half empty?

Your thoughts and reactions?

7 Comments, RSS

  1. jl de la salle

    I like the comparison with Water. However a few comments to that.

    EVERYBODY accepts Water as essential. I am not sure Top Brass is quite there yet. We will need younger Top brass (will happen anyway -:) ) but quite a few companies could be extinct, victims to the drought.

    Also everybody believes Water is good. It can be quite a menace as well. It is synonymous to floods, casualties and insurance claims….in that order. You need a good plumber (and that is not just IS) internally and you have to rely on authorities for rivers and dam maintenance…..not sure we are quite there yet, are we ?

  2. jl de la salle

    I like the comparison with Water. However a few comments to that.

    EVERYBODY accepts Water as essential. I am not sure Top Brass is quite there yet. We will need younger Top brass (will happen anyway -:) ) but quite a few companies could be extinct, victims to the drought.

    Also everybody believes Water is good. It can be quite a menace as well. It is synonymous to floods, casualties and insurance claims….in that order. You need a good plumber (and that is not just IS) internally and you have to rely on authorities for rivers and dam maintenance…..not sure we are quite there yet, are we ?

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