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Four key digital mindset best practices

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

Digital mindset is an attitude, a behaviour and a belief that a technology strategy is a living breathing thing that continuously evolves and requires ongoing investment.

Depending on what side of the table you sit, this can mean economic buy in, or for those strategising and implementing, an open minded and objective creativity around what’s needed today and what will be needed tomorrow.  

Greig Johnston, CEO, Vidatec
Vidatec, Stirling University Innovation Park, September 2018. Greig Johnston (CEO) pictured in their new offices. Pic free for first use relating to Vidatech. For more information please contact Nick Bird (Spreckley) on 02073889988, bird@spreckley.co.uk . © Malcolm Cochrane Photography +44 (0)7971 835 065 mail@malcolmcochrane.co.uk No syndication No reproduction without permission

In this piece, Greig Johnston, CEO, Vidatec, takes a look at the best practices around digital mindset to bear in mind as you set about your work as a technology professional.

Greig is CEO at Vidatec and a former CTO. He has worked in the technology sector for over 25-years, buying and selling technology services. He specialises in helping businesses of all sizes develop digital strategies that deliver help technology leaders across many sectors mitigate risk, reduce cost and increase revenues.

THE WORD ‘DIGITAL’ HAS BECOME SO UBIQUITOUS THAT IT’S DIFFICULT TO REMEMBER A TIME WHEN IT WASN’T SO UNIVERSALLY USED.

I’ve been a technology leader for most of my career and, as little as 10-years-ago, the word digital didn’t even exist. Back then, it was ‘information technology’. Back then, companies invested in a ‘technology strategy’. Today, digital is all consuming – it’s a mindset and it never stops evolving.

As CEO of Vidatec, a custom software development company, my perspective is that digital encompasses the end-to-end technology platforms that exist in an organisation and serves to support the organisation at every level of operation, from the twinkle in a customer’s eye, right through to delivery, and cash in the bank.

With that in mind, here are four digital mindset best practices to help you as a technology professional.

PURSUE LONG-TERM (EVOLUTION) PROGRAMMES INSTEAD OF STAND-ALONE (TRANSFORMATION) PROJECTS

It’s imperative that organisations stop seeing technology ‘projects’ as standalone efforts.

Technology efforts shouldn’t be seen as a project at all. It’s about a programme of work that encompasses multi-year continuous improvement. It’s about technical change and renewal. In other words, digital evolution.

Just because we design & develop digital products for a client doesn’t mean that’s the end of the engagement. Every year, customers demand change, markets change, UI/UX trends change. Technology will never stand still. Every year requires a fresh approach and the willingness to transform that app accordingly. It sometimes feels as though we are starting again, but this is absolutely part of modernising your technological state year over year.

APIS ARE CRITICAL

When it comes to connectivity, the bar has been raised.

In the past, closed systems were preferred; there was no expectation around plugging into other products or connecting data sources.

But today, it’s mandatory to build that connectivity layer into products. In 2023 and 2024, a product will not succeed unless it has an API.

I would go as far as saying that this has become a standard expectation, yet it can be hard for clients to understand and embrace that open approach, that modern digital mindset.

THINK ABOUT SERVICE DESIGN BEFORE DIGITISING THE PROCESS

As we navigate new financial uncertainty, we’re seeing an emphasis on digitisation to achieve operational efficiencies.

There’s a lot of people under pressure because their business expects them to digitise processes, but they haven’t looked at the processes themselves, which may be inherently flawed to start.

It’s important for organisations to look at their processes first before putting a digital solution in place.

Analysing and developing service design should precede user experience and product design. Technology leaders must test their thinking and ask, ‘is this the right and most efficient service we’re offering in the way we’ve designed our process’.

Often the answer to this question is ‘no’, and digitalising a bad process won’t make it better.

START WITH YOUR PEOPLE

It’s fashionable for organisations to speak about their digital mindset, but in reality, it’s not about the company, it’s about the individuals who work there.

It’s not as though a company gets a new CIO and can therefore adopt a digital mindset overnight; you can’t force people to think a certain way. It’s clearly a big part of culture and education.

This kind of shift requires an engagement programme centred around supporting people. It is often tied to a larger change agenda. For a company to have a truly digital mindset, it must be integrated at a strategic and leadership level which is naturally tied to organisational goals.

Organisations that are committed to bringing their people along on that journey are, in my opinion, more likely to succeed.

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