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10 questions about your digital future to expect from your board

Many businesses struggle with how to deal with the large technology transition ahead of us. Boards engage with the C-suite around key strategic questions on a regular basis. So here is an attempt to support you with 10 questions to ask or expect that are relevant for your 2017 business planning.

How will our business be impacted by the CASM technology driven inflections? 
Twenty-five years ago, the high tech industry was pursuing advice on how to cross the chasm and enter into the business tornado. Today we are working to understand the implications of Cloud, Analytics, Social and Mobile (CASM) on our business. Cloud redefines computing and business models. Analytics give us access to quantified insights about customers. Social media redefines sales and marketing processes. And last but not least, Mobile in the shape of 4G and 5G redefines devices, connectivity, and usage patterns.

How have we broken down Smart-XYZ trends into tangible opportunities?
Society trusts the future will be smarter across all industry sectors. But the devil is in the details and we are now entering a phase were it is critical to refine the understanding around opportunities you should pursue.

Which part of a portfolio needs to become smart connected products first? 
Physical products are in the process of being turned into smart connected products. It’s a highly innovative transformation driven by progress in processing and memory. And connectivity enables access to the cloud for software updates and continuous measurements of actual use. A completely new reality for all producers of consumer and business goods.

How do we engage with the eco-systems we build our future on? 
The future is characterized by a need to move outside your classic ecosystems to unlock potential values. All industries are getting connected to the ICT industry, and industry disruptions can be introduced from industries other than then one you characterize as your field.

How will our business models change as our industry become digital? 
Owning assets is no longer a pre-requisite to establishing a successful business. Platform-based business models have made large inroads in the market. Consumption based “as-a-service” models are table stakes in dynamic markets. Innovative companies work both with business models and price levels to stay alert.

How have we defined the customer buying journeys guiding our digital marketing?
A large share of the customer engagement process has moved into the digital domain. Your customers want to learn from you. You need to help them crafting customer buying journeys representing how your customers would like to learn. This framework becomes the backbone for your content creation efforts. This is an outside-in based approach all companies aspire to master.

How do we prepare our organization for continuous learning? 
Learning from your customers is quickly becoming the primary source of knowledge in your company. In a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) your best bet is to learn, learn fast, and adapt. Define how you create, store, and share insights. It’s a lifeline for the future.

How do we leverage digital tools in optimizing marketing and sales engagement flows? 
The digital journey is not only transforming the external interfaces. Equally important is how you leverage digital tools in your mission-critical business operations. If you place your bets on “just do it” you are up for a run.

How are we supporting our leaders to lead in the digital domain?
As our businesses move into the digital domain, so does our leadership. A big part of the leadership for the future is about how well we influence and lead in the digital domain. Adopting mail was a big channel for leaders 25 years ago. Today we see the same resistance among executives to using social platforms as a daily tool. All leaders don’t need to be networked at once, but you need a digital leadership nucleus to build from as you enter 2017.

What are our quarterly execution goals for the coming two quarters? 
When business is conducted at the speed of war, we need to tune our goals accordingly. Yearly goals are replaced by quarterly goals, monthly follow-ups by weekly follow-ups. The contributions from each team member and every team are important. By thinking as navy SEALs you improve the odds to seal deals.

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