Main Image

Setting the record straight: I don’t hate technology, I just love digital strategy

I can recall earlier this year I was in a meeting with our, then very new, CTO Tim King and a client and I said ‘I hate technology’.  Tim gave me a funny look but never questioned it, and as a true marketer I did follow it up with the rationale that I love the outcomes that technology enables in businesses but not the technology itself.

Fast forward to last week and I found the same words falling out of my mouth … “I hate technology”. Having been part of the Cucumber family for well over six months by this point Tim called me out on this and suggested that as the GM of a digital company – I should probably stop using that phrase and maybe even learn to like technology. This got me a-thinking so I decided it was time to set the record straight…

At the risk of using one of the most over-used analogies of all time, to me technology is like a car. They are an essential aspect of a journey, but personally I am more interested in the destination, how I’ll feel when I get there, who I will meet and what I will see. At times in our industry, companies spend too long talking about the vehicle and not enough about the destination and the way in which we will get there.  

The importance of a digital roadmap

Over the years we have all heard the horror stories of businesses that made technology decisions, sometimes worth millions of dollars, with no view of where they were heading. In such cases, things almost always ended badly. Kind of like getting into a car with no view of where you are going and where you will stop along the way to full up on petrol, use the facilities and stock up on boiled sweets. Enter our friend, digital strategy.  

As soon as you add the word strategy to anything people tend to become sceptical, but in my view a good digital strategy is simply a shared view of where you want to go and how you are going to get there over time. Sounds simple enough and it can be.

The key ingredients in a digital strategy

When we complete digital strategy work with our clients we focus on four key areas:

Some description

  1. Context; who are the customers, how do they behave, what do they want from us, what is happening in the industry both here and offshore, what is happening in the broader market that may impact this industry and what are the key opportunities?
  2. Current state; where are we today, what are the key challenges and opportunities the business is facing. What else is going on in the business which may impact how we are perceived online? 
  3. Future state; where do we want to be, how will be know when we get there, what will we measure to show we are on track?
  4. Digital Roadmap; how will we get to this desired future state, what are the specific projects, how much will this cost, what are the dependencies and timeframes, who owns this?  

The outcome of this work is something that everyone needs to agree on to make the journey as smooth as possible. That is not to say there will not be bumps and detours – any good digital strategy has to be flexible enough to allow for slight changes in direction as new roads and conditions present themselves, but at its heart a digital strategy aligns a company towards a destination.

Putting the ‘technology’ back into digital strategy

So where does technology fit in this new strategy first world? And how do you make significant technology investment decisions in your business when you are faced with passengers that want to (and have to) explore new roads and conditions because customers demand it? Well, I’ll leave Tim to answer that in an upcoming post, but what I do know is that while I don’t care what colour car I drive or if it has 4 wheel drive or a spoiler, I do care that it’s safe, reliable, fit for purpose and cost effective.  I also know my destination would be much further away if I had to walk so the technology itself can add significant competitive advantage in which case I admit – technology is pretty awesome. So too is using it to drive real business results.

So if anyone at Cucumber ever hears me utter the words “I hate technology” again – I have promised the beers are on me!

To talk to Cucumber about your company’s digital strategy – contact us