Three Things to Evaluate when Building a Digital Strategy

Sharon Schaeffer
By: Sharon Schaeffer
Date: January 29, 2019

The distribution industry is in transition. Companies working on older technologies are realizing limitations with their current systems while other organizations have already begun their digital transformation journey. According to Gartner, nearly 45 percent of organizations said the biggest roadblock to becoming a digital pioneer is not having a clear overall digital roadmap.

It is critical to understand where you are on the digital maturity path and take the steps needed to set yourself up for success. For organizations still thinking about transformation, start with performing a current assessment to identify the gaps between people, processes and technology and the actions and resources needed.

The next generation of distributors, however, are a bit further down the path, quickly adopting innovative technologies with mobile accessibility to optimize daily operations and hone their competitive edge. These distributors are causing a massive wave of innovation in the industry.

If you’re looking to improve in areas such as efficiency, analytics, and better warehouse management, here are three areas to evaluate when building your digital strategy, before you get left behind:

Your Plan

Your digital strategy needs to support your overall business strategy. Start by reviewing your organization’s mission statement, goals, and business plans. Meet with executives and conduct informal interviews to pinpoint key differentiators for a more targeted approach.

With your goals in place, you’ll now need to set your priorities. The priorities list should help to address current competitive threats as well as those in the foreseeable future. Start with those projects that deliver the fastest results. This way, you can concentrate on a few high focus areas, implement and assess outcomes, and decide on the best path forward.

Your People

One of the largest variables in a successful digital strategy is getting the right people involved. Your strategy is more likely to be successful and accepted if you ask others for their critical comments, embrace their knowledge and experience, and build the feedback into the next draft of your plan.

A key step is determining your stakeholders and bringing them on board. This starts with the leadership and IT teams. They will oversee a bulk of the planning and execution of the digital transformation, so make sure they understand the importance of the strategy and support it.

Also look to identify change agents. These individuals bring a commitment to improving processes and new ideas for change.

Your Processes

We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Be careful to keep that mindset out of your digital remodel. Take the time to review and assess all the processes in your organization. What is working well? What could be done better? How can you set yourself apart from the competition? Are there any operations that are impeding your ability to achieve your business goals?

Not only is process review a vital stage in digital planning but reviewing the current technology in place is equally important. Are the systems you are using today helping or holding you back from driving your business forward? Identifying the gaps in functionality will help gear your future technology investments in the right direction.

Seeking ERP implementation or broader digital transformation? Learn more about developing your digital strategy for distribution here, then contact Avaap to begin your digital transformation!

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