Digital business is not simply the deployment of technology, the virtualization of networks or a discrete project with a visible end. It’s a strategic approach and a cultural shift that supports — and in many cases, redefines — enterprise goals. One way to think of your digital business plan is to look at it in five phases:

Phase 1: Enable your employees, partners and customers to work together securely and seamlessly — wherever and whenever they want. Leverage identity-based technologies to enable mobile workforces, integrate partners into supply chains and connect customers to a full range of innovation, delivery and support processes.

Phase 2: Make the shift to analytics-based planning. Determine the kind of results that digital analytics can drive for your enterprise and build a plan for getting there. An important step is articulating where the enterprise is today in terms of collecting and leveraging analytics, identifying where it wants to be in the near-term, then creating a plan to close that gap.

Phase 3: Promote the digital technologies you are using today and get visibility with senior leadership. Focus on low-hanging-fruit projects that integrate existing skills and familiar digital technologies. Score some quick, easy wins and get business unit leaders interested in becoming the next enterprise project.

Phase 4: Develop your digital competence and begin growing beyond your current skills and platforms. Create a roadmap that illustrates the digital business you want to create and identifies the key technologies that will be required. Typically, this is the stage of development where customers, partners and other “outside” authorized users begin to get integrated with your ecosystems.

Phase 5: Scale up and make the transformation to a functioning digital business. Leverage analytics to drive decisions and processes across all your ecosystems — from innovation and demand generation to sales and manufacturing.

The new reality for every industry