Top 8 capabilities you need to be a Digital Business

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

In this final part of the series, we bring it all together and explore the top 8 capabilities you need to be a Digital Business.

In our post on whether being a Digital Business is for you, we discussed how "poster Digital Business brands" put digital and software at their core to disrupt their target industries. These included Uber (taxi & deliveries), Tesla (cars), Amazon (books & retail), Bloomberg (news & fintech), Revolut (payments & banking).

With the cloud, big data, analytics, intelligence, creation of storefronts and the ongoing improvement to customer experiences, Traditional Leaders are starting to operate closer to how a Digital Leader would.

However, there is so much more they need to adapt to that we believe it weakens their value. Their ability to build Digital Leadership skills comes at the cost of developing their domain expertise and business building skills, which the business still needs.

In your business, you will need to augment domain Traditional Leaders capabilities with Digital Leaders capabilities to effectively manage and become a Digital Business that can meet the following eight key areas of success:


Capability Description Examples

Digital Product/Service


  • The ability to create and ship a digital object or access a digital capability that delivers value to a person or process.


  • Tesla: The software system powering the dashboards through which users access Tesla services and extended car capabilities. The UI and gadgets positions and shapes are adapted based on new customer feedback with minimal turnaround time and impact.
  • New capabilities are made available with minimal physical updates to the car itself
  • Amazon: Kindle digital book.

Continuous updates

  • The ability for the Digital Product/Service to consistently receive maintenance updates. This ensures the continued delivery of agreed levels of service and value throughout engagement without needing manual intervention or the need to bring it in for service.
  • Tesla: The ability for the software to receive updates while the car is parked in your garage.
  • Google: The ability to get access to new features without needing to do anything on your side
Self Help by Design
  • Enabling customers to access systems of knowledge for help and training on their own time and pace.
  • Apple: Hybrid approach through online support and Genius bar support.
  • Reducing support costs via automation, digital chat and AI.
Digital Payment
  • Ability to transact to allow the customer to access value desired near-instantly.
  • Amazon: Access to a Kindle eBook
  • Tesla: Feature/removing of a capability block.
  • Microsoft: Centralised license purchase and instant assignment for their digital products.
Advanced Analytics around engagement and feature take rates
  • Web traffic and ability to map digital customer journeys from the moment of contact to the moment of product acquisition and usage.
  • Customer Demographics.


  • Tesla: Which car features and drive modes are used and in which volumes?
  • Tesla: Connected car ecosystem.
  • Tesla: What is the average drive distance, and at what speed?
  • Apple: How many people updated to the latest version of the operating system?
  • Bloomberg: Which articles are being read most?
Digital products as a driver of innovation
  • Providing new digital products that capture behaviour and usage telemetry.
  • Replacing an existing spreadsheet sold offline and re-packaging it with an online SaaS experience (e.g. using MS Power Apps).
  • A digital training course.
  • Creating petabytes of useful data that can be used to gain insights, identify new customer cohorts, identify product ideas and new potential markets to expand into.
Do once repeat many approaches
  • Map out existing processes and workflows
  • Identify new ways of working that shorten the time to achieve the desired outcome, or do it at a fraction of the cost while meeting the desired result.
  • Leverage technology to drive the workflow, capture information and measure progress.
  • Codifying systems of work and playbooks that enable new team members to achieve predictable results and similar outcomes to established team members.  
Digital Finance
  • Ability to capture costs and revenue on a product-line, department and family basis.
  • Correlating revenue to costs to usage.
  • Use data to identify when a customer is disengaging.
  • Recommend products & offerings customised to that person's behaviour and transactions.



In Conclusion

This brings us to the end of this series.

Thank you for your time in reading this series of posts on becoming a Digital Business. This is a topic I love to explore, and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

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 Open
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 (This Post)

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 has 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

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 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.

Top 8 capabilities you need to be a Digital Business

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