Digital resilience: these tips will make you digitally fit

How do you build digital resilience? How can this help against an impending recession?

The German economy is threatening to fall into recession. Digital resilience and targeted advice for efficient online marketing can help companies survive times of crisis and emerge stronger from them. In this technical article, you will learn what strategies are available and what companies can specifically do to become more digitally resilient.

Crises weaken the economy

Whether it’s the Corona pandemic, climate change, or the war in Ukraine, it’s clear from the massive economic stresses of recent years that the world has become more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Compared to previous global crises like those we experienced in the 20th century, the systems we now rely on to keep businesses, governments, and our society running are now primarily digital and dangerously interconnected.

Organizations recognize that digital processes, infrastructures and applications must be resilient in order to respond quickly to challenges. Whether they are caused by market conditions, outdated technologies, or external threats like ransomware: Built-in resilience to address these challenges has risen to become one of the key performance indicators for digital transformation.

Digital resilience was a major theme at the IDC Directions 2021 conference last March. According to IDC, more and more companies are realizing that digital transformation depends on digital resilience to quickly adapt to market changes. They are doing so by leveraging digital capabilities to not only maintain or recover business operations, but also to benefit from changing conditions.

More resilience in digital

A recent representative study by the Vocer Institute for Digital Resilience shows just how important digital resilience is. In it, Dr. Leif Kramp (ZeMKI, University of Bremen) and Dr. Stephan Weichert (VOCER Institute for Digital Resilience, Hamburg) examined the connection between digital media use and psychological well-being. One of the key findings: Many people show serious symptoms of excessive demands and stress in connection with their digital media activities. However, the results also show that in the face of increasing social and media pressure in times of crisis, those affected are specifically looking for ways to compensate. The need for digital resilience strategies has increased sharply.

In times of crisis, companies often resort to quick measures to cut costs or compensate for losses. For example, many brick-and-mortar retailers have expanded their online business and introduced hybrid formats such as click & collect. However, digital resilience requires more. To survive economically difficult times, companies must align their digital strategy for the long term. In our experience, companies should consider the following things to become digitally fit:

1. Data-driven mindset

First, gather information and take stock of your “as-is” state – even if you think you already know it. To do this, you should establish a data-driven mindset that permeates all areas of your company. Only those who collect resilient data can measure and evaluate their state. Ideally, managers will have a dashboard of all key and current metrics that they can use to anticipate potential digital risks and make informed decisions.

2. Act agilely in response to change.

Change is inevitable. Unlike waterfall approaches, agile methods provide teams with the ability to better manage and respond to change. With the help of data-driven ways of working, they get early indications that they need to change their offerings, for example in pricing. Because their decisions are based on numbers, they are more understandable and can be corrected more quickly.

3. Minimize costs

To stay digitally fit, companies need to be financially stable and use their resources optimally. Optimal performance marketing, for example, can help to make the best possible use of marketing expenditure. With the help of experts, costs can be saved in the long term and unprofitable expenditure avoided.

4. Open up new markets

Part of an agile mindset is that organizations need to respond quickly and dynamically to sudden changes. This includes tapping into new markets and marketing channels: Because of the sanctions against Russia, many retailers had to shed the Russian market overnight. Those who quickly open up new markets (e.g. in East Asia) increase their chances of surviving the crisis.

5. Remain competitive

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that change can happen quickly and it’s important to be prepared. In today’s world of constant change, the most resilient companies are those that are continuously aware of what is happening in the world and in the markets around them. This allows them to respond quickly to customer and market demands and remain competitive.

6. Create concentration

Part of being change-ready is for companies to focus on their core capabilities and give their employees the space to put their main focus on the things that matter. Digitally resilient companies create a place for this that allows for few distractions and keeps their own team focused. Take care of your employees and create the space for them to take care of the important things.

7. Find purpose

The demands on work have changed. People are no longer just looking for secure jobs, high salaries and a seamless resume. The purpose behind it is just as significant. When employees know why they use their strengths and identify with the company and the tasks, they perform better. New Work is therefore not just a buzz word, but makes a lasting contribution to the economic success of the company. Answer the question for your employees: What is the purpose of your company and your product and why is it worthwhile to work for it?

Conclusion: Consulting before technology

There is no way around digitization. Questioning and introducing ideas and strategies should therefore be possible in every company – because it not only promotes an open corporate culture, but also innovation. In particular, the shift to an agile approach is beneficial for companies. Agile techniques help companies increase their adaptability and integrate change rather than resist it.

Digital resilience doesn’t start with technology, but with targeted consulting. In addition to an analysis of the company and its environment, it is important to change the mindset of employees and foster a willingness to change. As performance marketing specialists, the topic of efficiency optimization is naturally very close to us.

Hartmut Deiwick ist seit Februar 2020 CEO der Löwenstark Digital Group. Die Full-Service-Agentur entwickelt und betreut Online-Marketing-Kampagnen in den Bereichen SEO-, SEA-, Marketplace Marketing, Affiliate-Marketing-, E-Mail-Marketing- und Social Media für Kunden aller Branchen. Zuvor war Deiwick Geschäftsführer sowie Sales and Marketing Director bei der PharmaHera Service GmbH, Apothekendienstleister von APONEO Deutsche Versand-Apotheke.

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