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5 Differences Between Digital And IT

5 differences between Digital and IT

Let’s put the word Digital in there. Then it must be Digital. Surely?

Digital is in danger of becoming an arbitrary, meaningless term as it continues to be overused.

This week, I read a well crafted press release from a very well known, IT Company here in New Zealand. They had won a deal to ‘Digitally transform’ a fairly well known FMCG company.

I read the article with great interest. It was quite an exciting customer so I read eagerly, searching for the point where they revealed what Digital tools and techniques they were using and how this was solving their customer problems.

Sadly, that bit wasn’t in there. There wasn’t actually any Digital tools that had been used.

What the IT Company had actually had done is sold some Infrastructure and Networking services, and pumped the article full of keyword phrases that included ‘Digital Strategy’ and ‘Digital Transformation’. (Nicely done Mr SEO / Copywriter!)

We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong

Yes that’s a ‘Grease’ reference. And yes, you will be singing that song in your head right about now.

I want to get a couple of things out of the way.

1) Digital simply cannot happen without IT. That is absolutely stating the obvious.

2) This article is in now way a dig at IT or the people that work in IT, in anyway.

I don’t doubt, that the services the previously mentioned IT company provide will underpin their customer’s Digital Strategy but is delivering new Infrastructure Digital Strategy in itself? I’m not sure about that.

Here is my take on five major differences between the two:

1) Digital spans multiple platforms and technologies

A Digital Strategy should ideally be agnostic and use the best systems that solve the customer problem. Mitre 10’s ‘Easy As’ Campaign is a perfect example of how companies utilise many platforms as part of a Digital Strategy. Many traditional IT Strategies focus on the technology first and then what this could be used for.

2) You can interact with Digital

I have a strong belief on what Digital is:

  “Digital is connecting with your staff, suppliers and customers through any electronic touch point”

Digital is tactile. It is things that people can use, touch, feel and hear (and in some cases smell). The Air New Zealand Coffee App is a great example of this. Can you do that with all technology?

3) Digital connects people not systems

Technology alone does not make this happen. Companies like Whittakers Chocolate here in NZ, use their Facebook page to connect to their customers and interact with them about new products and complaints.

4) Digital solves a stakeholder problem not an IT Problem

Whilst I hate having to pay for parking, it’s a fact of life, living in a City. I therefore think it’s great being able to start and stop parking use the Parkmate App (I never have any change on me and don’t trust if the machines will take cards!)

Your stakeholders don’t care, if your servers are ‘virtualised’ or if the application is hosted ‘in the cloud’. What they will care about is using something that lets them go about their daily lives more efficiently and/or it makes it easier to do something.

5) Digital combines a variety of skills, not just technical

Last week, Simon Tong, the CEO of Fairfax Media announced he was resigning to take up a position at ASB Bank as Head of Technology, Innovation and Payments. I believe that, anyone with a Digital remit in the near future will typically have a combination Operations, Marketing and IT skills.

Do you agree?

I would love to know your take on this subject matter and if you disagree with any of these points. If you do, then please use the comments below. Likewise, if you would like to know more about how a Digital Strategy can help your organisation, please get in touch.

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