Ambition, Revenue & Results: The heart of the S.P.A.R.C.S. framework
In the first article in this series, we introduced our S.P.A.R.C.S. framework to bring about lasting and pervasive digital transformation.
At the heart of this framework is Ambition, which is intricately linked to Revenue and Results. These are the ‘A’ and the ‘R’ in the S.P.A.R.C.S. graphic above.
Businesses often say they want to achieve digital transformation or become more ‘digital’, but are not specific or vivid enough in their ambition. This leaves their teams on the ground unsure of how to execute this digital change - or why they need to change in the first place. The result? Digital transformation fails to make the transition from a set of PowerPoint slides to organisational reality.
That’s why we always suggest anchoring your digital ambition to some revenue or results in order to provide a clear, measurable rallying call for your team.
In this article, we present a three-step process to do just that:
- Understand the need to link ambition to revenue and results
- Describe your ambition vividly to make it relatable to your entire team
- Decide what to do more of and less of to turn your ambition into reality
Linking Ambition to Revenue and Results
Digital ambition can be sparked in many ways. For example, after attending an inspiring digital conference in the U.S., one of our clients returned and said to his leadership team, “We have to start using social media more strategically to drive business growth.” As intimidating as it may sound, this ambition needs to be anchored to results and revenue.
To do that, first ask yourself: “What business dial or dials do we want to move through this change? Which part of our customers’ journey can we impact positively?” For example:
- Do you want to build your brand equity further, using social media?
- Would you like to reduce the cost of customer acquisitions?
- Do you want to increase sales through online channels?
Once you start articulating your ambition more clearly and linking it to a business dial, we encourage asking “What kind of change will this ambition bring about in my business, and what will be the impact of this change?” Typically, this requires a very long and detailed business analysis study. You might think it also requires the hiring of new people with specialised digital marketing skills and knowledge. But what if we tell you there’s a more efficient way to do a high-level business assessment of what digital transformation could mean 'on the ground'?
Making your Ambition a reality - Now and in the future
At FutureMarketer, we recommend the ‘Do More, Do Less’ exercise as a practical method of envisioning and executing digital transformation before launching into an extended financial analysis. Here is an example from one of our clients in the services industry.
This client believed that digital transformation was vital for their business, and that their services mix would need to change in their newer, more digital-version. But a very natural transformation concern was, “Where will we get the resources from?” Hiring a whole lot of new skilled people would just not make financial sense.
Our ‘Do More, Do Less’ exercise was a way to help them bring about digital change by redeploying existing resources and budget. It was also a way to free up resources that they could use to chase their ambitions.
We advised our client to make a list of their current revenue generating services and activities and map out which they saw themselves doing less of and more of as their new digitally transformed selves. And calculate its impact on the P&L.
Similarly, through a series of carefully facilitated digital transformation workshops, we helped them map out a proposed future mix of services and activities. Overlaying the two exercises on to FutureMarketer’s ‘Do More, Do Less’ matrix (see below) gave the client an immediate helicopter view of how the digital transformation could start taking shape in a practical way.
The last step was to attach a revenue forecast to these future activities and place them along a concrete timeline.
As you can see, the ‘Do More, Do Less’ exercise helped progress our client’s ambition towards an actionable digital transformation plan. Instead of “We want to do everything”, it anchored their digital ambitions to a meaningful plan.
The results? Our client is now well on their way towards achieving their ambition. They are successfully weaning themselves away from non future-facing sources of revenue and instead diverting resources towards activities that make them more future-ready. And now even their acquisition team has a much better understanding of the type of acquisitions in the digital analytics and services space that make more strategic sense for the business.
Making digital transformation exciting - Beyond the boardroom
So, your business has made an exciting start towards your digital future - you’ve defined your ambition and linked it to business dials. You’ve also begun to map out what you want to do more of and less of to make digital transformation happen. But all this planning could still remain within the confines of your boardroom or a small core team.
To truly make the shift, the digital transformation journey must be evocative enough to fire up people’s imaginations and spur every employee and stakeholder into action. This is why you need to vividly describe your ambition and proposed results.
All it takes is asking yourself the following questions:
- What will our organisation look like when the results of our ambition have been achieved?
- And very crucially, how will our new, digitally transformed business look like to specific stakeholder groups such as employees, customers, consumers, partners, investors and shareholders...?
Vivid description helps take digital transformation beyond a mere PowerPoint exercise. It plays a big role in aligning expectations of different stakeholders and unpacking a much richer description of your company’s digital ambitions. This key step brings you that much closer to turning your ambition into reality.
We hope this three-step process helps you:
- Articulate your digital ambition
- Link it to revenue & results
- Create an actionable plan that drives your business forward
We realise, however, that the process of translating your digital ambition into revenue and results requires navigating a tricky path. If you’re interested in applying these strategies and digitally transforming your organisation, attend our Digital Transformation course or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to share some of our experiences with you.
And stay tuned for our next article in the S.P.A.R.C.S. series, as we share more about how we help clients drive digital transformation in their businesses.
We are FutureMarketer - a digital marketing training and consulting firm. We are dedicated to helping business leaders and marketing practitioners win in a marketing world shaped by digital innovation and become future-ready.