By - March 5th, 2012

[T]he use of IT has been transformed by disruptive technologies including the cloud and mobile communications devices. And with the rise of social media, corporations should be developing a digital...

The use of IT has been transformed by disruptive technologies including the cloud and mobile communications devices. And with the rise of social media, corporations should be developing a digital IQ now.

In their 4thDigital IQ Survey, the results of which were published in November 2011, PricewaterhouseCoopers identified that businesses are just starting to respond to the consumerisation of IT, which has been driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets.

PwC stated: “Having a high Digital IQ is important because it can deepen the level of engagement you'll enjoy with your customers, employees and business partners. It helps you increase returns on technology investments by more closely tying those investments to growing your business and solving business problems. Too many organizations adopt new digital solutions—such as social media platforms— without understanding the business value or what it should be.”

The best technology is no longer found in the workplace and both customers and employees expect more from the options available to them when working with businesses. They want to be able to access, analyse and arrange information from the platform and location of their choice, at any time of the day or night. Companies are at a critical juncture of the digital revolution and they need to develop a ‘Digital IQ’ strategy now or they face the very real risk of falling so far behind that they will not be able to catch up.

The report identified a Digital IQ as being “an assessment of how well companies understand the value of technology and weave it into the fabric of their organisation”, something which many businesses probably think that they have been doing well for years. But the huge changes we have seen in how people communicate, and access and store data, mean that the traditional thinking around how IT delivers value has been turned on its head.

A well-developed digital IQ has both technology and process elements, as what many businesses fail to recognise or act upon is that the technology alone can’t deliver value. It’s what you do with it that really matters.

Making the most of social media

[caption id="attachment_2032" align="alignleft" width="210" caption="Ben Norman"]Ben Norman, Managing Director, Koozai[/caption]

The rapid growth of social media platforms means that many businesses have rushed in to start tweeting and create company LinkedIn or Facebook pages without properly understanding the potential business value they can provide or having any kind of coherent strategy or reporting process in place. Ben Norman, Managing Director at digital marketing agency, Koozai, said that he realised if the agency is to have any credibility when advising its clients on how to achieve their digital marketing objectives, it had to practice what it preaches. “We believe in always trying new options, but we understand the importance of setting up effective measurement services to see what effect that they are having on both your brand’s online visibility and also leads coming into the business.”

Koozai use many social media and technology platforms to help them achieve their business goals, such as educational style videos to explain solutions to common problems, both on their company website and their YouTube channel. They see this approach as valuable not just in keeping their team at the cutting edge of developments but also as an excellent source to funnel prospects with similar problems into new business leads. This works to not only grow awareness of the company but also to assist in pre-sales relationship building as potential customers already feel like they know the company and that it can meet their particular need.

Using the tools effectively

[caption id="attachment_2036" align="alignleft" width="195" caption="Mark Bower"]Mark Bower, founder and Chief Technology Officer, CubeSocial[/caption]

However, growing your Digital IQ goes deeper than just adopting the latest tools or having a large IT budget — it’s about integrating technology into planning, measuring results, interacting with customers, partners and employees, and ultimately creating value that would be missing without it. Mark Bower, founder and Chief Technology Officer at CubeSocial, which is an online tool to help businesses track, monitor and act on social media opportunities, believes that having a large IT budget is irrelevant in the new social media world. “Cloud computing has enabled companies of any size to benefit from the economies of scale that previously only large companies could afford.  To me, a great Digital IQ has its basis in the culture of the organisation.”

What he means by this is that to really benefit from the wealth of opportunities that social media offers businesses to develop deeper more meaningful relationships with customers; managers need to empower all of their staff to go out and use social media to make those connections. Business value can be found from the most surprising of sources. Bringing the social media connections of employees into a company will enable relationships to be developed in ways that were just not possible before.

Indeed, recognising the importance of this new approach is what led to the founding of CubeSocial in the first place. Bower concluded: “When we created CubeSocial we wanted a way to easily discover where our clients and prospects were hanging out on social media. When you upload a list of email addresses, CubeSocial does the hard work of searching the Internet for social profiles and creating a contact card for all your contacts. Now, when we connect with a new prospect we can see immediately what’s important to them.”

Despite being a small, start-up business, CubeSocial’s Digital IQ is very well developed. The sample principles that it employs can be applied to the corporate environment as well. The Digital IQ of a corporation must change as its use of IT evolves in an environment that is dominated by social networks.

Social media and the insights and data the company gets from its use of IT is integrated into their product development, pre-sales, PR and customer service. Looking forward, Bower predicts that the CRM systems of the future will not only help businesses to manage their relationships with their customers but will also alert them when they are developing relationships with their competitors. Now that really will be a highly developed Digital IQ.

Digital IQ Components

Technology

  • Mobility – the mobile solutions provided to customers and employees and how mobility is ‘baked’ into core company processes.
  • Social media – not just for marketing but how interactions on these platforms inform all business areas.
  • Cloud computing – making the most of the cloud to make your business more agile and competitive.
  • Business intelligence – how internal and external data sources are used in strategy development.

Processes

  • Strategic planning – ensuring that IT is at the forefront of all corporate strategies.
  • Mobilisation – roadmap development and alignment of resources to deliver it.
  • Roadmap execution – the delivery of projects on time and on budget whose end results deliver real, measurable business value.

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