Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
January 10, 2017  |  ByMark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow
Don’t Leave Your Digital Vision to Chance

Follow a Process – Don’t Leave Your Digital Vision to Chance

It is important to follow a process. If you have one, use it. If not, use this one.

Following a process will help ensure that your vision is not driven by a single point of view, that it works in the value chain and avoids inside thinking, and that it achieves the right balance of creative thought, industry experience, and analytic proof. There are many potential visions for wholesaler-distributors; the challenge is to build the vision that is right for your company. Our process is designed to do this, and also to give you the information needed to build the capabilities required to execute it and the logic and documentation needed to make adjustments as you take actions and learn from your successes and failures.

Our explanation here is brief because we apply this process through suggested work at the end of each chapter and build to a complete vision over the entire book.

Step 1: Foundation

For building a digital vision, we suggest that the first step involves documenting the current vision (or differing visions held by individuals), key business objectives, opportunities and challenges, and the competitive environment. This step is a foundation for all that follow and a critical requirement for building your digital vision.

Step 2: Ideas

Ideas are fuel for your vision. They can be gathered from your people, customers, and suppliers, and from other distributors, vendors, and consultants. Gathering ideas is a bit like a brainstorming exercise. The goal is to identify relevant ideas. Some are obvious and common sense. Others will shake your assumptions.

Step 3: Insights

We define insights as ideas that are applicable for your business. The difference between ideas and insights is that ideas may apply to any company or market. You should gather them, because they may stretch your understanding of what is possible. Ideas become insights through analysis, fact checking, modeling, and other work.

Step 4: Direction

Having completed the previous steps, this one is about pulling together insights and organizing them into a clear and concise vision. We prefer not to think of this step as simply “documenting” your vision as a statement or PowerPoint chart. Doing so focuses effort on getting words on paper and can lose the richness of your analysis and discussions. A vision is more of a story. It has a plot, and, like all stories, it has a beginning, middle, and end. Many leaders are skilled story tellers, and they will have a leg up in creating and communicating a digital vision that sets direction for their business and helps motivate and compel their people to move forward.

Step 5: Action

Visions are living stories that are told and retold, morphing a bit over time. Visions begin to generate results when actions are taken. Actions come in many forms, including strategies, tactics, customer meetings, supplier partnerships, and more. Learning leads to adjustments followed by more learning. Over time, the cycle of visioning, acting, learning, and adjusting leads to immediate and longer-term financial results, differentiation, improved competitiveness, and market leadership in an evolving value chain.

Adapted from Getting Results From Your Digital Investments

The full study helps you to build a vision that is the right one for your company and then to take all the needed action to execute your vision. It provides advice for helping you make investments, mobilize people, and ultimately, get results from your digital investments.

Have you downloaded the Pocket Guide about this important study yet?
Click on the image to receive some valuable excerpts from the full study.

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Mark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer founded the Network for Business Innovation to drive awareness, advocacy and excellence for B2B innovation, and to enable an exchange of ideas between leaders on business transformation, technology adoption, social impact and community engagement. For more than 30 years, Mark has worked with leading companies to achieve go-to-market excellence across a wide range of industries in developed and emerging markets.

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