Digital Strategy? Ya….not quite dead yet there, kids! The power of the pithy LinkedIn quote strikes again…

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Just a quick one today….

So we’ve all seen this particular quote on LinkedIn over the holidays (I’ve seen it posted at least 20 times in the past couple of weeks myself – one version has 150+ likes to it) — and much like almost every other quote found on social networking sites, it just happens to be irrelevant to the current state of where we find ourselves (there are two versions of it – one attributed, this chosen one not – but it is the exact same wording in both.)

(An aside before we really start running with the main theme of the post – and perhaps this is a rant for another time, but LinkedIn is getting overrun by pithy, irrelevant quotes by the hundreds lately – which is why the “LinkedIn is not FaceBook” graphic has made the popular rounds lately as well.  Personally, I know I’ve had my fill of the “Tao of Steve Jobs” quotes on all things for a lifetime though – along with the Instagram shots, the “what I had for lunch” mentions, etc., but I digress….)

Back to the subject at hand, and I may be approaching “Old man standing on the porch and shouting ‘Get off my lawn’” status with this post – but it needs to be said…just to bring everyone up to current speed.

While there may be the popular view that there is not a need for “digital strategy” in the current business context, we don’t live in a “digital world” anymore either — at least in the everyday sense.  We’ve evolved far past that – at least under the definition implied by the quote.

That particular quote on the state of digital in terms of “digital world” may have been applicable and relevant five years ago – but with Brits answering recent surveys that they would choose to give up sex before their broadband connection; Americans using their mobile phones almost five hours every single day, and more than 50% of Americans now using Netflix as a source of entertainment; “our digital world” has assimilated to the point that it is just “our world” full stop — because it is just common practice and way of everyday life at this point (i.e. one doesn’t go on about how our world is a “sexual world” – unless you are Hugh Hefner perhaps; or a “carbon-based, oxygen breathing world” – all of this is so pervasive that it is just left out – that is what digital is to us these days too – or should be….but we aren’t close to being there yet.)

Alas, (somewhat sadly) there is still a big place for both the term and the practice of “digital strategy” in business – there is no doubt about it.  A vast number of companies (both big and small) still struggle with even the basics of providing simple digital services – and a vast number of processes that should be automated and available digitally are still not (looking at you HSBC (for just one example – still making me trudge to a physical branch to get monthly statements that should be available freely online.)

There is also the subject of using digital across the entire enterprise to optimise almost everything that a company does (or can do) — but that is a can of worms to open at another time.

Of course, I’ve found these types of people want to be seen as being on the “cutting edge of business” and “ahead of the curve” (hence all the “prediction” PowerPoint decks from agencies and global consulting companies you’ve seen pop-up on Slideshare this past couple of weeks — which are just lame attempts at marketing — just another version of “sponsored content” to be fair.)

Given the current state of digital, it is more a sucking whirlpool of stagnant dithering process than “hanging 10” and riding the crest of the wave at the Pipeline at Oahu, Hawaii.  Most of those predictions made in those decks are either going to be grossly inaccurate – or should be ripped from the headlines of “Duh Magazine” (not every day I get to make a “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” reference — so I’m glad this has afforded me the opportunity.)

So while it might be nice to be seen as “living on the cusp of today’s brilliance” – in business terms, we are still in the “Paleozoic Era” of digital for the time being. Perhaps there is still time that we work on perfecting the basic requirements of digital services before we go off incorrectly saying the job is done, and creating new categories to work from?  Is it any wondering why “digital” is still being “done wrong” today?  Just a thought….

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