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We read a lot about digital transformation. Transformation is really only part of the picture. The end game is to be a digital business. That may require what some see as transformation but that sounds way too hard to a lot of people so they get stuck. The digital business journey may be more like “crawl, walk then run”.

In that light, it is important to always think through what the holistic picture looks like. Some of it may always be fuzzy, but thinking it through will help. As a company begins to explore digital opportunities, it will help to know as you grow, do you to provide consistent but not truly innovative products, services and customer experiences. Or, do you want to be a market leader and eventually a market disrupter.

Being a digital business is a whole lot about culture. Is being interconnected more important than department silos? Is being fast more important than being steady? Is innovation and market disruption desirable? Is the customer experience the top of mind and top of performance expectations?

It is a C-Suite and leadership responsibility to see the digital business holistically. Customer service can’t make up for finance department systems that are riddled with errors. These digital systems have to connect to a common vision. They also have to have the right leadership. “Old World” leaders may need to find something else to do. New roles may need to be created with very talented leaders.

The six steps to build a successful digital business (chart below) are a good framework to the holistic approach needed.

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So what are some of the characteristics of a holistic digital business?

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