Modern businesses need to awaken to the fact that, in today’s business environments, a ‘digital strategy’ is about much more than ‘digital’: it’s really customer, business and growth strategies all rolled into one.

Organisations that can only think in terms of a ‘digital strategy’ will increasingly fail to compete in the disrupted marketplaces of today. This is because it is often approached in the wrong way without a view as to what’s going on in the wider business environment; with it failing to solve the long-term problem or improve service.

A good example of this in action is within travel: Airbnb has revolutionised accommodation booking not just through an app, but by building a value exchange between the host and guest. In contrast, traditional hotels are likely using mobile apps, but aren’t offering a unique and personalised customer experience, so are losing revenue to the disruptive start-up.

There are many reasons why a traditional ‘digital strategy’ will not work as effectively as it could, but here are three of the most common problems:

Strategies put together by small teams in an ivory tower

Even very capable individuals would struggle to suggest strategies that could work across an entire organisation. Regardless of how good the final idea is, strategies created in this way will be met with resistance within the organisation. This will lead to compromises and consequently, the strategic plan will fail to achieve its goals.

Strategies devoted to technologies instead of businesses

Modern technological solutions, such as CRM, are not the key to every organisational problem. Adopting technology as a solution is often an overly simplistic strategy. It won’t create a substantial change or a progressive, holistic plan that can improve an organisation. Instead, it can create integration problems with existing legacy systems, processes and personnel.

Strategies designed for business instead of the customer

Strategies should always be developed with the customer in mind. Only then can you design new services, products and delivery methods that will meet their needs and in turn, the company’s revenue goals.

To avoid these pitfalls, organisations like WeWork, Uber and even small ones such as UpDownDesk need to evolve the way they approach a ‘digital strategy’, thinking of it as more of a ‘digital-first, customer-centric strategy’. This mantra needs to be adopted by all of the organisations’ functions, be built with a focus on the customer’s needs and be influenced by the wider market as well as digital trends.

Identifying these problems is a start. However, simply creating the strategy doesn’t always mean that it will be followed through and digital’s disruptive nature needs both long-term human and financial investment.

Despite this, a business’ fear of being left behind is good motivation to spearhead a ‘digital-first, customer-centric strategy’. The value that can be achieved from it is always going to be greater than the risks involved and it will ensure that your organisation will prosper in the new, digitalised world.