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Forging a ‘Digital-First’ Business Strategy: What Does It Entail?

Data has been called “the new oil” in recognition of the fact that information is as essential to the success of today’s businesses as petroleum was to the giants of the Industrial Age. But data is potentially more valuable than oil, because it can be reused and adapted for so many different purposes. Organizations that base their decisions on a foundation of high-quality data will become the “digital-first” giants of the Information Age.

Recently, the second annual IDG Digital Business study was conducted to gain a better understanding of where organizations are in their digital-first approach. The findings show that establishing a digital business is top of mind, as 91% of organizations have adopted, or have plans to adopt, a digital-first business strategy – which is up from 2018.

So what does it mean to adopt a digital-first strategy today? And what should the top objectives be for a digital-first strategy? In our recent #IDGTechTalk we set out to find some answers, strategizing with a community of industry experts who provided a range of ideas.

It’s a cultural shift

Becoming a digital-first organization requires fundamental changes in the way organizations think about information as an asset. For many years, businesses regarded data as a necessary evil; it was essential to running the business but expensive to store, maintain, and protect. With the arrival of powerful big data platforms and analytical tools, that equation has flipped.

Wayne Anderson


The organization has to make a #culture decision to be intentional in the way that they consume and publish services. Think bigger, look for integration. Decide collaboration channels and find ways to move faster and be curious. #IDGTECHTalk

Cyril Coste


A1 #IDGTECHTALK A #digitalfirst strategy goes beyond digital. It’s about #transformation using tools and methodologies brought by the digital age. Create amazing #experience, implement new ways of working (think #Agile), focus on product and value, act on #data and feedback

Digital first = customer-centric

A digital-first strategy also means becoming a truly customer-centric organization and properly leveraging technology to engage, consistently and effectively, with personalized, relevant, and timely content, products, and services—at all levels of the customer journey.

Wayne Anderson


Replying to @moingshaikh @GeneDeLibero

I’d actually push back on this – being where the #customer is, is important, but you have to have #value from moment one with them. Having what they need, easing #friction of getting it is the cornerstone of #digital. Otherwise the mobile/web channel is useless #idgtechtalk

What’s holding companies back?

What are the biggest challenges that organizations face in achieving success with their digital business initiatives? IDGTechTalk participants cited various factors that inhibit digital business success, including too many competing priorities, lack of sufficient budget, and lack of staff and/or correct skill sets.

Cyril Coste


A3 Inefficient organizational structure and decision-making process #Fakeagile Process mindset vs #Product Mindset (be the later!) Lack of trust in cross-functional teams #IDGTECHTALK

mike d. kail


Replying to @GeneDeLibero

A3: Focusing solely on a #Digital #Strategy without a comprehensive plan on how to achieve it. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory” #IDGtechtalk

Brent Kirkpatrick


Replying to @GeneDeLibero

Security. Hacking is very prevalent. Hacking will shut down your computers, destroy your data, and otherwise wreak havoc with your digital transformation: cell phones, laptops, desktops, cars, routers, or clouds.

Emerging technologies under consideration

Looking ahead, what are the emerging technologies that organizations should be considering in order to become a digital business? According to the IDG Digital Business study, 5G, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning are the top technologies currently being researched. With new technology comes increased productivity, which requires organizations to change internal processes and improve skills and culture.

Gene De Libero

@GeneDeLibero 3d

Do #machinelearning and #AI have a primary place in the “digital first” business? #IDGTECHTALK

Steven M. Prentice


Replying to @GeneDeLibero

Absolutely – they are the caffeine of digital first progress.

Tom Schmidt


Yes, because they’re key to capturing, distributing, and acting quickly upon data. #IDGTECHTalk #digitalfirst


Digital transformation has now become a business imperative for most organizations. According to IDG, almost half of all organizations have already adopted a digital transformation strategy and more than a third are realizing its value. As digital business becomes mainstream, delivering an outstanding customer experience and improving worker productivity through new technologies are now top priorities.

Where are you on your digital-first journey? Learn more about forging a data strategy in today’s multi-cloud world from Veritas.

As always, please join us every Thursday at 12pm ET for the #IDGTECHtalk.