It happens often and always catches my attention that someone well-placed or high up in their company conflates digital strategy and technology strategy, or worse yet reverses the terms flat out. It’s a misnomer worth correcting because, with a turbulent decade of digital change ahead, every business leader needs to understand both how to leverage technology and hone their digital business strategy. Correcting the confusion between technology and digital has particular relevance in digital transformation where it is a common mistake to believe that simply upgrading your technology amounts to a transformation, this is very much not the case.

Here’s a quick guide to how business leaders should understand the difference between digital and tech strategy.

All digital is technology but not all technology is digital...
In a business setting, when you hear the term technology you should immediately think about leveraging raw capabilities. What pieces of technology can be used to strengthen your business? Which systems will increase efficiency or improve your bottom line? Technology is the enabler, when we speak about a tech strategy or tech solutions we are asking which tools fit your specific needs. For example, the tech strategy of a large eCommerce business must include, (to name a few): a robust online content management system, shipping solutions, and a customer service system. Yet none of this will guarantee success in the digital economy, for that you also need a sound digital strategy.

Digital and digital business strategy refers to something very different, sometime much more social or organic. Digital refers to the swirling world of interconnected digital businesses, destinations, and our relationship to them. Digital is how we all exist within this space; how we seek information, how we communicate, how we are creative, how we are consumers, and more. Your digital strategy is how you chose to place your company in the digital ecosystem; how have you designed your digital customer experience, what data you are collecting and how you are interpreting it, which markets should you pursue, how are your acquiring new customers and servicing them, etc. So, a large eCommerce digital strategy must include (to name a few): a well-designed user experience, consistent social media updates keeping your customers informed and engaged, analytics tracking how customers use your website and interact with your products, and constant revaluation to make sure you’re positioned correctly in the developing digital world.

Your technology strategy is what tools you are using and your digital strategy is how you’re using technology to achieve a business result.

Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital transformation is the most important investment any enterprise sized business can make in the next decade it is about mastering your digital business model and consequently your tech strategy. It’s about understanding the digital economy to make your company more connected, productive, and innovative. CEOs don’t need to be technologists or data analytics experts, but C-suite executives do need to dive in and understand the constant churn of digital opportunities. The next decade of digital transformation will change the dynamics of every business; — technology and digital are firmly rooted in the business vocabulary of the future— don’t get them confused.