My recent piece on evolving to the post-digital enterprise resulted in some expected pushback from the digerati about whether digital is even close to being past its prime.
For many companies, there’s so much work still needing to be done to become digital that the thought of a post-digital world is incomprehensible.
To my contrarian friends, I point out that manufacturing is still totally relevant in the post-industrial era. To whit, digital is not only important to the post-digital period, it’s actually the foundation. They’re not mutually exclusive. Post-digital will occur whether or not you recognize it since it relates to new human factors that digitalization has created.
Most importantly, the difference between digital and post-digital is a refocusing on how humans magnify digital disruption by using commodity products and platforms.
As I wrote in my earlier piece, post-digital requires a relentless focus on the human (or customer) as the next phase of digital processing power. It also focuses on the individual and their engagement “moments,” regardless of where that engagement occurs.
This shift in thinking has some very important relationships to how CIOs upgrade their personal and departmental brand. It’s the equivalent of Wayne Gretzky saying, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
So how can enterprise IT brands embed a post-digital context into their current digital transformation strategy? Here are a few tips for your own personal future-proofing:
1 Preach the post-digital message
Your internal business partners will be even more suspicious than you are about the post-digital era commencing when it seems the previous era was just starting. Post-digital CIOs must convey that both stages of transformation will happen at the same time. Your message should reinforce that enterprise IT understands the next wave is coming and will drive thought leadership in that transformation.
Many of us who have studied the awkward relationship between marketing and IT know that there are “slow and NO” stereotypes that IT must overcome. The transformation of the brand called IT must, in many cases, be seismic, as opposed to a perception of glacial changes. Touting awareness that digital and post-digital changes are happening in concurrence can be a very bold and somewhat risky stance that can set you apart.
2 Back up your position
Positioning yourself as a post-digital visionary requires vivid examples so as to avoid “MEGO” (my eyes glaze over) among your proletariat. I find one of the best ways to do this is to show CEOs how brick-and-mortar customer experiences can create a digital “feel” despite not being totally digital. You can also discuss how digital creates exponential amounts of human data exhaust.
David Sable, the CEO of the legendary Y&R advertising network, prefers to describe post-digital as “Digital Exponential.” Sable uses the example of the Super Bowl, which obviously has many expected digital components. But the post-digital exponential is related to how humans generate petabytes of data processing exhaust through engagements that happen at various “moments” before, during and after the game.
More importantly, digital actually drives human interactions. Anyone who plays fantasy football knows of the number of “picks parties” held prior to the start of the season.
The post-digital personal brand looks at the total state of human affairs as a result of ongoing digital disruption.
3 Get your people in place
Crafting your post-digital brand requires assembling a much different talent base in the IT organization. Keep in mind that post-digital (or digital exponential) is more about the subtleties of how technology is being absorbed and magnified, rather than how it is being deployed.
This requires team members with new cross-discipline skills. They should have an obsession with the exponential processing power provided by users. This could be described as the mirror image of traditional human factors or UX skills. In this case, users create new “interfaces” that in many cases reside outside the digital world.
Post-digital strategy has much to do with watching the bi-products of digital disruption to identify totally new forms of engagement that straddle a multitude of channels and mediums.
Building the post-digital brand is not necessarily an easy task but it could be a differentiator for you in this new era.