Understanding the Digital Business Mindset

In our Digital Business (DB) series journey so far, we

In this post, we explore what having a Digital Business mindset means and requires.

Use this post to gain insight whether:

Software and data everywhere

You see software applications in use everywhere.

If you are in the services industry, you probably already use software to coordinate customer interactions, sales workflows, customer support, management of treasury, legal agreement, and create aggregated indicative information for capacity planning, training, and investment prioritisation.

Alternatively, in a more industrialised space, you see software orchestrate bookings, machinery, scheduling, stock movement, logistic operations, sales and distribution engagements.

Does this mean you are a Digital Business?

Using software and data to enable your business does not make you a Digital Business with a Digital Business mindset. It is not about acquiring or building software technologies or simply building great data architectures.

This graphic from the Flinders University encompasses the areas to assess quite nicely:

Digital Business Analysis Competency Groups

It is about actively

  • Exploring, developing and applying technologies with agile approaches to live at the heart of all of our activities to create new customer value
  • leveraging and adapting technology to create reliable, repeatable and scalable results.
  • Ensuring that 95%+ of your workflow operations are codified, supported, accelerated, or done entirely by software.

We can argue that established businesses are often held hostage to rigid, obsolete, and poorly interoperable software solutions. This limits and makes them incompatible with the new pace of mobility, interconnectedness and change, giving an advantage to digitally-born competition in their space.

Opportunity, Opportunity, Opportunity

Many businesses already have an incredible wealth of raw data trapped within their systems that can bring together more holistic intelligence and understanding around what drives customers and enable new opportunities.

They also have a great deal of workflow information (typically captured in the minds of their teams) that needs to be documented, analysed, optimised and transformed to enhance the value of their application to the business purpose.

People use digital applications to enable people, and hence we need to look at the state of Digital Mindsets across the various dimensions that impact the organisation they are part of. Gartner presents the balance to create a Digital Business and intelligence as follows:

Intelligence beingn informed by Customers, Ecosystems, IT Systems and Things

Customer and business insights are no longer a nice-to-have

Offering a product or a service is one thing. Understanding the environment and behaviours (usage, environment, demographics etc.) opens your business to a radically different ball game.

A Digital Mindset is so much more than developing software or using software to gain insights and automate.

This means that to become a Digital Business, you unlearn several approaches and learn new techniques needed to respawn and transform into an environment that pushes a customer-first and digital-first agenda at the core of your culture and work activity.

You are a Digital Business when you actively:

  • Continuously experiment in increasing the digital value across the business assets in small, controlled doses in line with the digital strategy of the business.
  • Use technology to be faster across all aspects of the business.
  • Focus on enabling your teams to describe their work in themes such as Maintaining Value, Being Faster, and easier to interact and do business together. Using a "FASTER" theme example, ¬†leveraging technology to enable people to do the work they do in half the time or double the work they can do with the same time and effort.
  • Create a centralised "dataverse" architecture strategy, where your distributed applications are feeding data from their operations to create a single consolidated source of truth to use for dynamic insights and connected intelligence.
  • Share information to create dynamic self-service leadership intelligence in near-real-time.
  • Upskill employees across technical, soft and productivity skills.
  • Deliver personalised customer and interactions that wow.
  • Align digital initiatives towards increasing the value of your business assets in terms of product capabilities, value chain, acquisition of new customers and maximum retention of existing customers.

Agility and flexibility to co-create.

The new digital world requires agility, flexibility, and the ability to co-create.

14 principles of the future organisation

Business aspects

It is enhanced when the business drives an internal mindset that promotes continuous:

  • Measurement of the time it takes to create different outcomes
  • Understanding that one's outcomes are someone else's inputs
  • Identification of wasteful processes and steps to eliminate without negatively impacting customer experiences or desired outcomes
  • Intentional Experimentation on a personal and team-level to improve capabilities, productivity and customer value aligned to business purpose
  • Searching for new ways to engage with and gain new customers
  • Re-evaluation of how ongoing projects contribute towards the business purpose

Team aspects

For this Digital Mindset to happen, the teams (or squads) need to be able to correctly and safely feel like they

  • Own the ability to improve and drive change
  • Are accountable towards commitments to themselves, the team and the business
  • Trust that the team aligns towards the same desired outcome and that leadership is measuring what matters
  • See and embrace technology as an enabler
  • Understand the existence of blurred lines between the technology stack of data, infrastructure and applications
  • Can collaborate openly in their position (leadership, strategic, contribution, quality)
  • Be persistent towards improving initiatives and methods of work aligned to the business purpose
  • Are encouraged to adapt and evolve
  • Have clear parameters that define objective measures, and measures of success in their work
  • Are given space to explore, learn, pivot and improve

Stakeholder aspects

For this Digital Mindset to happen, Digital Leadership understands the importance of internal staff's knowledge, impact and capabilities. Digital Leadership owns the responsibility to bridge what each brings to the table, knowing that internal staff:

  • Have an intimate understanding of what works and what does not in the organisation's daily operations
  • Need help to understand that most digital solutions provide possibilities for efficiency gains and closer customer intimacy
  • Need help to understand how small digitalisation iterations and data sharing systems create new opportunities for them to achieve bigger and faster results, with better impact to the customers they serve.
  • Need Reskilling and upskilling to help people recognise opportunities to use technology to find better working methods, create new opportunities, and generate more revenue.

Parting thoughts

People can make or break a Digital Business. Not everyone will have a Digital Mindset or is open to it. Digital  Leadership plays a key role in being the catalyst that drives change and systematically helps people embrace it.

The above considerations will help you identify the best approach to advance your organisation's creativity, collaboration, and ownership on your journey towards becoming a Digital Business with a  Digital Mindset.

Wrapping Up

Summarising our progress, in our Digital Business (DB) series journey so far, we

Explore the rest of the "Digital Business" series:

# Topic Link
DB-01 Unpack what it takes to be a Digital Business Open
DB-02 Is being a Digital Business for you? Open
DB-03 Putting digital landscapes into perspective Open
DB-04 Set your Digital Business north star Open
DB-05 Changing the business while running the business Open
DB-06 Understanding the Digital Business Mindset (This Post)
DB-07 Top 5 Key traits Digital Leadership should have Open
DB-08 Unlocking Digital Business Agility Open
DB-O9 Top 8 capabilities you need to be a Digital Business Open


  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution for companies to become Digital Businesses.
  • It is only in uniting people, products & processes through a common vision, a deeply felt purpose, and a broadly shared dream that will continue to motivate stakeholders to push on and persevere.
  • Many paths can lead to your desired destination. Each route while equally viable have varying degrees of complexity, sophistication and completeness.

My purpose in the series is to share lessons learned in building global software businesses to help you achieve a Digital Business with assets people want to buy.

Let me know what you think about this series and whether you feel something important was left out. Reach out on andre@andremuscat.com.

This post and the information presented in newsletter, events and website content are intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed herein are of the author alone and is not a recommendation of an investment strategy or to buy or sell any security, digital asset (including cryptocurrency) in any account. The content is also not a research report and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision. While certain information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, neither the author nor any of his employers or their affiliates have independently verified this information, and its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The content is not legal advice. Any third-party information provided therein does not reflect the views of andremuscat.com. Accordingly, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, timeliness or completeness of this information. The author and all employers and their affiliated persons assume no liability for this information and no obligation to update the information or analysis contained herein in the future.

Understanding the Digital Business Mindset

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