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Often disappointed when a tradie does some work around your office?

I am!

But it’s not in the way you might think.

I’ve been getting some refurbishment work to my office, due to a flooding in one of this year’s rain events. This includes some floor covering, electrical work, carpentry and glass screen repairs. Luckily most of the cost was covered by insurance.

The insurance and flooring companies operate a good digital program. Booking, notification and customer satisfaction survey all automated. As you would expect of medium to large customer service businesses.

The tradespeople had no digital strategies. One had a business domain name, didn’t renew, and lost it. An expansion was being planned for the other. There was no strategy to effectively manage the extra resources or work.

So, I ran both businesses through a digital score analysis tool. This produced some interesting outcomes. Comparing them to Construction and Other Services industry profiles.

The “other services” business scored poorly against the 175-other business in the sector survey. This business scored 11 overall. Comparing to other business in the sector across the 4 digital strategy measures;

The suggested developments are being considered by the business.

The “construction business” owner was digitally aware and had an objective. But suffered from the common issues. Initially, knowing where to start and lack of confidence because of previous poor advise. Overall the digital score was 25, there were 40 like businesses who had undertaken the analysis. The industry comparison digital strategy adoption score was;

A digital strategy program was agreed. The budget to complete this was set at $350. The program was;

  • Get a business relevant domain name
  • Setup domain management
  • Establish business grade SaaS services for email, document sharing, and storage
  • Seek digital advice when required

The Digital Scorecard program was run again the expected with the new programs in place.

The results were

  • Operational Efficiency Score 56 against a target of 65, baseline 48
  • Vision & Planning Score 25 against a target score of 30, baseline 0
  • Sales & Marketing Score 25 against a target score of 30, baseline 0
  • Digital Capabilities were not addressed in the program plan and remained at 0.

Overall digital score ranking was raised to 38, from a baseline of 25

Significant improvements require small and directed steps. These need not be expensive just effective.

Incrementally reviewing the digital program is required 3 to 4 times per year. A three-step review preceded by an annual program strategy session. This delivers the best results for most businesses.

A digital strategy development program focuses on the category where there is most to gain. Preparing a scorecard as part of the review identifies the areas where the most gains can be made.

Work with Sheldon

Businesses are being constantly told that they need to transform. Being in the digital economy is essential for all types of business.

So why don’t businesses have a digital strategy?

Mostly they don’t have the time or know where to start! They also lack confidence in their internal skills and the quality of the advice received.

Effectively applying technology to business requires the ability to measure results. How does a business know that they have improved competitiveness? What is being and effective business?

With business conditions and technology changing rapidly. Most businesses understand they need to use a digital strategy.

“You are who Google says you are;

88% of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources.” The Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study April 2011 Consumer Insights, Micro-Moments.

So, did you know that almost 50% of the business, operating for 10 years or more, don’t use online or digital tools! This was highlighted in a recent Suncorp and Courier Mail survey. Having a Digital Strategy is essential to your business.

Now everything you do online affects your business. While you may think that being found in the first few pages of a digital search are not necessary, it is part of your value proposition. You owe it to your staff, partners, and friends to build a competitive business.

A digital strategy does not start with a website upgrade or an Adwords campaign. SEO is not where your strategy starts!

The building blocks are;

  • Establish a vision and planning program
  • Manage Operation efficiency
  • Improve Sales and Marketing
  • Develop Digital Capabilities

While the ZMOT information has been refined in detail since 2011. Researchers have developed more details analysis of customer actions. Effective Digital Marketing requires the understanding of all aspects of your business.

Small business organizations have become increasingly concerned. Surveys by these show business need support. Chambers of Commerce and government agencies are reinforcing these concerns.

Recently the Queensland Government sponsored a Digital Scorecard tool. It has been released to local businesses. Many business process analysis tools available. These include; Digital Assessment from Software AG, and Digital Quotient from McKinsey & Co. The Information Technology Competitive quotient (ITCq) was by the Business Software Alliance. Several service providers use this quotient in their programs.

Typically, these scoring systems measure the competitiveness over 3 or 4 business areas. Both the McKinsey’s “Digital Quotient” (DQ) and Queensland’s “Digital Scorecard” (DSqld) use 4. These are;

  • Operation Efficiency (DSqld), Organisation Practices (DQ)
  • Vision and Planning (DSqld), Capabilities and Data (DQ)
  • Sales and Marketing (DSqld), Opportunity advantage (DQ)
  • Digital Capabilities (DSqld), Digital Strategy (DQ)

Both the DQ and DSqld scoring systems present similar frameworks. The DSqld program is now accessible nationally through the Australia Government Dept. Innovation Information and Science. The DSqld tool can be accessed at www.business.qld.gov.au/digitalscorecard. This services is limited to Queensland based business. To be part of a more inclusive program register for a Digital Needs Assessment.

By mapping to the Business Model Canvas, we can make sure that the Digital Scorecard improve your business. It is done through highlighting the objectives of the business. The business model canvas is a tool to help to understand the business operation. It has a 9-element framework that shows how to achieve a competitive and effective operation. Using the canvas to put in place a digital strategy is shown in improved DSqld score results in the 4 areas.

“What gets measured improves”, Pearson’s Law 2011!

The Digital Score card presents 22 Questions. The results of the report are made available for the 4 areas shown by industry and locality.

Details of how to create business models using the canvas building blocks can be found at Strategyzer AG, http://www.stragyzer.com.

Firstly, understand the business model building blocks for your business. Using your business assessment score create a program for digital innovation. Then prioritize the program activities.

These should be done in small incremental steps. Remember small changes can have big results.

Regular measurement of your digital performance score measures the improvement. It will show you the return on investment of the changes. This should be undertaken every 3 or 4 months.

Steps for a Competitive and Effective business operation.

1. Create a business model using the 9 building blocks

2. Establish a base measurement of your digital program

3. Describe a set of program steps to improve digital readiness

4. Order the program steps to maximize results

5. Compare before and after digital program results

Repeat process each after 3 or 4 months and the review digital score. Then update the 9 blocks of your business model. Set the next quarters program steps to maintain progress and value.

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Useful links for preparing your own digital strategy

Enterprises and smaller companies use our platform and services to more clearly understand customers, create better products, and grow businesses.

The Business Advantage method aligns information technology services with the business operations goal.

So what is the problem?

“business owners want their technology to work”

This has been an issue for years

“why hasn't it been sorted by now”

Who is responsible?

There are competing goals for business owners. How can they gain an advantage?

Technologists, like me, must improve how the business functions. Then help manage how you deliver value to your clients.

This is achieved when costs are reduced by improving technology function. Also, better operation management to increase revenue.

How do you gain a competitive advantage?

To the business owners no one appears to be accountable. They are left to navigate the tidal flow from innovate and grow to stability and regression.

“If something isn't working in your business that's the way you designed it”

That said business owners need to be ready to head in the right direction.

Advisers are limited by several factors. Now the term adviser is just that you get told about a plan. The term implies a lack of responsibility for the outcome. Advisers in the form of financial or technologists have their own agendas. These agendas are not aligned with the businesses they serve.

Next internal technologists within the business lack experience. They are constrained by what they know or can research.

External technology providers have the benefit of more experience. Yet, like internal staff they must operate within a cost profile. This profile includes the service provider making a profit. Also, being able to manage what is being delivered.

How does a business owner get the technology to work? Still providing a place to innovate and grow. While keeping costs and risk manageable.

There are two designs which have grown to be accepted by the industry.

One looks at the business innovation. It describes how a business creates and delivers value. Done by showing business owners how to deliver products that customers want.

The other addresses the business technology design. It shows how the business makes effective use of technology. The process measures the competitive state of the business. Then improve the advantage through applying a business technology program.

The technique of aligning the two programs delivers a business advantage.

Business competitiveness is about costs and function. How to make a business grow. Be innovative. Control costs. While maintaining a good business operation.

Business requires a digital strategy to navigate the flow in the innovation river. Sometimes it's fast other times you’re against the tide. Having your technology and operational plan aligned is the key.

There are 9 elements of the digital strategy program. The 9 business model goals are matched with the 9 information technology elements.

Businesses need to provide continuity assurance. This is not a client need. Unless your product is managing personal information. The cyber-security risk in the business is low priority for your clients.

It is a key element of your suppliers and partners as you represent them to clients. By promoting them through the delivery channel for your product.

The responsibility for continuity lays in the next 2 technology functions.

Managing internal and external services effects costs. Effective tools support internal projects to deliver to the business.

Activities undertaken should create revenue. Efficient technologies applied further contribute to cost management.

Revenue increase comes from efficiency gains through maintenance programs. Consistent service monitoring improves utilisation of resources.

Changing to the management side of product delivery. The conscious rule means focusing on who our customers are. What makes them different. How do we plan to please their needs?

Management focus continued. Governance programs to maintain the best possible relations with customers. Understanding why they like and buy from you. Automating NPV scores collections. Feedback and email sequences.

Managing the delivery of a product or service to you clients is a key success criteria. It has a direct impact on revenue. Management and monitoring is key. Along with reporting all play a part. Making sure you do it right.

How client needs are satisfied through an efficient information strategy. Managing budgets to maintain a competitive edge.

Revenue comes from what the customer is willing to pay. Technology management is how the business maintains value. Through services such as; sales, marketing, financial accounting and investment in staff.

Technology functions focused on better operating costs. Automation and workflow systems for specific industry applications. Relevant and responsive dashboards on the business make for better decisions.

Business Advantage method allows the business owner a framework to make good decisions. The 9 elements of both the business model and technology canvases are flexible. The resulting program can be reviewed and adjusted. With accountability, the key. The results based on the technology outcomes are measurable.

Sheldon D Morey Business Consultant in digital strategies and applied technology. Like to know how to get an advantage. get a call to book a

CyberRiskSelfCheck(100)

A recent publication by a by a long time business friend of mine caused me to look into the site reputation checks performed by quality online Antivirus/Spyware tools used for business.

As Ingrid points out web security for “end-points” (desktop/laptop/tablet/mobile-devices) is provided with centralised reputation services run by the security systems suppliers. When a site is created most private or personal business web sites get a general classification “un-categorized”. This places your web site in the suspicious or some other dubious accreditation class.

Search results are displayed for the site and flagged as containing possible malicious content. This may cause government and large corporate network security services to block access to your site. In the past, when I was involved in my managed services business we were often involved with updating “white-list” profiles for our larger customers. This disrupts the smooth operation of both sellers and potential purchasers of items.

To find the article on how you can go about fixing this here is the link to Ingrid’s article heartcomms.com.au/antivirus-programs-killing-clients .

Well that depends on what your expecting your site to do for your sales and which customer segments your involved with.

In a business strategic plan which aligns technology with the objectives of the business two elements influence the importance of a web sites reputation.

One is Process, which deals with the delivery of our goods and services. The other is Market, identifying who are our customers, why do they buy the products we have and how important is the value of our product.

What our strategy tells us is whether we need to take action about our web sites reputation;

  1. Do we sell or deliver our products via our web site
  2. Are our products used or supplied to Government, Education or large/multi-national companies
  3. Do customers or potential customers obtain information like brochures, help or assistance from our web site
  4. Is our web site used as a target for landing pages or promotions
  5. Do customers value our reputation / credibility for technology matters

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions, then the reputation or you web site for search and access security is important. You should undertake a review or have your technology support provider update your companies web site status.

I’ve got to say that for my web site I answered yes to 3, 4 and 5 so undertook the suggested category updates.

I can say that Webroot, McAfee and Trend Micro have updated my web site status to “Business/Economy” within 24 hours. I have also enabled a blacklist check through MX Toobox. I am waiting for the request to be processed by Kaspersky and Norton.

Some helpful tools can be found here compiled by Lenny Zeltser at zeltser.com/lookup-malicious-websites. I also setup a weekly web site IP blacklist report through a free account with MX Toolbox, mxtoolbox.com.

To discuss business results with applied technology

Cyber Attacks: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Protect Themselves

Could your business afford to lose $10,000 or perhaps $29,000? We hear a lot about Ransomware attacks. However, email initiated fraud is a significant issue for businesses both small and large. Recently, with its public accountability procedures in place, a local government agency paid out over $450,000 in an email based invoicing fraud.