Industry Insights

How to Develop a Digital Strategy and Roadmap

Did you know that only 29% of companies have a multi-year digital roadmap to guide their digital transformation evolution? We, here at CMS-Connected, often get asked questions from our clients regarding digital strategy and roadmap development. Although there is not a one-size-fits-all plan for Digital Transformation, in this article, I will discuss the fundamentals and some tactics that many organizations can apply to their own journey. 

First and foremost, it is important to know that it is a distillation of a business’ vision, objectives, and strategy. It should be a blueprint for documenting how to operate in the digital and online space. Therefore, you need to focus on what help your business can gain by way of digital enterprise capabilities that leverage growth and generate new economic value in the future. In short, your digital strategy and roadmap should focus on yielding tangible results. Let’s look at the most common top desirable business outcomes from a digital strategy: 

  • Maximizing the return on investment of your products and services

  • Amplifying efficiency, reducing the cost 

  • Enriching customer and employee experiences 

  • Developing a proactive cyber security strategy

  • Creating a more nimble enterprise ready business 

  • Responding authentically to changing customer preferences and the digital landscape

Now that we know what we could achieve with a coherent strategy and roadmap, it is time to discuss where to begin and how to build a digital strategy:  

  • Make a comprehensive vision statement that includes your overall goals. It should be powerful enough to be your North Star reference point that you can always go back to and get your answer whenever you have doubts about the point of any initiative. 

  • Set specific and realistic key performance indicators (KPIs). To do so, you need to take a hard look at your previous digital marketing efforts, successes, and failures so you can be calculated risk takers. One of your KPIs could be something as simple as “50 percent of sales completed online.” The most important part is that your metrics should be measurable as you will be held accountable for achieving them. 

  • Technical assessment is another important step. First, you should assess the current technical architecture based on the vision and KPIs to see if it performs below its potential. From there, identify the gap between the current state and the future technical architecture. Finally, develop and document a series of initiatives that can fill the gaps. 

  • If you want your digital strategy to be an integrated strategy rather than just being a series of ad-hoc projects, you need to obtain stakeholder engagement. In fact, companies fail to make the change they intend approximately 70 percent of the time due to lack of stakeholder engagement, according to the Project Management Institute. It’s prominent to have a clear, shared understanding of who is responsible and accountable for what initiatives. This could be addressed and followed up using a responsibility assignment matrix. 

  • The decision about the way that the organization will follow should be made based on the organization's priority. However, coming to an agreement on the priority level can be harder than it sounds. If the management consistently pulls the employees from one “urgent” set of tasks to another, there are chances all the important initiatives will be procrastinated. To avoid this, you need a clear set of priorities aligned with the vision so people can determine what is really urgent. 

  • After all, becoming a digital-first organization is a cultural change and requires a development of a digital-first culture as well. 

The Power of the Digital Roadmap 

The digital roadmap is used for defining, managing and launching digital touch points. Digital transformation is a well-planned journey, and just like every journey, you need a road map for navigation. The digital roadmap is a sophisticated project plan that details durations and dependencies of all the initiatives in the digital strategy. The roadmap also provides checkpoints for assessing the progress and success of the digital strategy down the road. 

Without the right roadmap in place or management mindset that follows the roadmap, businesses can end up heading in the wrong direction, heading to the right directions but too slowly, or not moving at all. A well-designed digital roadmap:

  • Assists to demonstrate what is being delivered.

  • Helps you assess if the project is worth delivering.

  • Highlights how it will be implemented, making the strategy achievable, tangible and more credible.

  • Makes it easy to see when it is delivered through a time frame.

Here are the most important components of a digital roadmap: 

  • Since the digital roadmap is defined by the digital strategy, the common ownership with the strategy is the key. 

  • The digital roadmap also should include achievable, realistic, and major milestones and associated streams and projects. 

  • It should be nimble so when strategies and plans change, you roadmap can evolve accordingly. 

  • It should demonstrate the rationale of the company’s current and proposed digital strategy.

WCM Powers Digital Transformation

Cathy McKnight, one of CMS-Connected News Contributors, wrote in her article published in May 2016: 

"The new drive for Customer Experience has driven content beyond just a 'nice way to market across a digital channel' and into perhaps the only differentiator that remains. This dependency on content and web content management (WCM) as the primary system of engagement has propelled the power of WCM as king widening the gap between it and its courtesans."

If the top strategic goals are improving customer experience and differentiation, then WCM lies at the heart of a digital transformation, as it may be the most complicated purchase & implementation an organization would make over the course of the transformation. Companies should captivate on comprehensive thinking with those goals in mind when selecting the right WCM in order to achieve digital transformation, as it has so many auspicious opportunities to make the process less intimidating.   

Let’s Wrap It Up 

Many businesses choose to follow the leader instead of developing a digital strategy that is right for them. It may seem a fast and proved method at first glance but it is dangerous. After all, every organization has its own unique culture, needs, and goals. A thorough digital strategy and roadmap help leaders steer organizations effectively as they make the transition to becoming more fully digital enterprises. We also suggest our customers phase slow, and steady roll-outs, instead of attempting a “Big Bang” as a lot of things can go wrong and you could overwhelm. In that way, businesses also can leverage a series of smaller tests, which are carefully measured, analyzed, and used to modify or optimize the digital strategy. 

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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