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Get Involved with Corporate Digital Strategies

Digital strategies should be the result of a collaborative effort.

The current economic climate is highly competitive and increasingly data-driven. More enterprises are relying on cloud computing technology, mobile solutions and automated processes to stay ahead of the curve and on the cutting-edge of best practices to drive productivity and efficiency on limited budgets. Consumer confidence and preferences continue to fluctuate, requiring companies to remain flexible and adaptive while pushing forward with growth strategies.

Many businesses hope IT innovations and adoptions will provide cost benefits while strengthening expansion efforts, hoping to achieve more while spending less. It is important for CFOs to stay up to date with the company's digital strategies for the future, ensuring each decision offers a wise investment to sustain the bottom line and reduce corporate risk. Without a collaboration of CFOs, CEOs and CIOs on digital strategizing, there can be a disconnect between the IT value, business value and financial perk of any given investment, which can disrupt workflow and damage a competitive edge. Cooperation between departments and decision-makers will ensure everyone understands the goals of each new initiative and how to realize the benefits.

Prevalence of Planning 
A recent study from Gartner revealed CEOs, CFOs and other executives will be more focused on digital strategies in 2013 compared to previous years as cloud computing, mobility, automation and social channels are all playing a larger role in business operations and success. The survey discovered 52 percent of senior executives have a digital strategy in place and plan to increase IT investment this year rather than cut them.

While the economy continues to show signs of modest recovery, there is still uncertainty in many industries. Thus, budgets remain tight and capital is protected. The extensive benefits of digitizing many business practices, however, is prompting companies to more readily allocate resources toward IT projects. About 78 percent of senior executives feel comfortable planning their digital strategies for 2013 and 2014 based on supportive research, best practices and lowered risks.

"This is the year when business leadership teams must commit to investing bravely and deeply to redevelop the technology and information capability of their firms," said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner fellow. "After more than a decade of modest investment and sorting out the basics, it's time to think ahead. Business leaders tell us they recognize the need to invest in ecommerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, and the capabilities they enable. That can't be done from within existing IT budgets alone."

According to Raskino, many companies are making large investments in IT infrastructure and services that stand to generate significant improvements and revenue for companies, so long as staff are equipped with the knowledge and resources to fully utilize the innovations.

Collaborative Effort 
There should be constant discussion among executives when digital strategies are developed, evolved and deployed over time. Digital strategies no longer apply to just IT departments, as data-driven initiatives are impacting all aspects of operations. Marketing teams are leveraging technology constantly to reach new audiences, sales departments are optimizing purchasing options and solutions, financial teams are reporting and making decisions with cloud computing sharing capabilities and all workers are accessing networks from remote locations or mobile devices to enhance productivity. As IT and digital solutions are playing a larger role in all functionality, there should be input from each department as to what.

Take the time to review digital strategies, collect feedback from other decision makers and look to predict the financial impacts of each selection. While strategies may change over time, companies can work on developing a collaborative protocol when determining what investments should be made that impact the entire enterprise.

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