Digital Thinking – The Tools

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In the previous edition of the Digital Transformation Series, we talked about the forces which are relevant for digital transformation. We understood that Customers, Competition, Data, Innovation and Value play important roles towards the success of a Digital transformation journey.

Let us look at the tools which are relevant for the the journey

  • Strategic Ideation Tools

These are the tools which allow organisations to come up with generating (ideating) new solutions to an existing challenge by exploring different facets of strategic phenomenon

An example of this would be on how to engage the customer better. Historically, the customers have been tuned to mass communication (TV, radio, metro advertisements) but as we discussed in the last post, today, the customer is more interested in engagement, voicing his opinions and personalisation.

Tesco understood that it needed to engage better with customers. It knew that it could do that when people were waiting at the train stations, so it created a scan and shop experience at the train stations.

Customer engagement, Tesco Way
  • Strategy Maps

These are visual tools which would help analyse an existing business model to compare and contrast with other options OR analyse a new model.

For example when Walmart created a model against Amazon, it knew that it needed to get into the online strategy for it to stay relevant. Further modelling by Walmart also suggested that almost 12% of its customers bought online when they were present in the Walmart store. The reasons could be multiple like the ease of delivery for heavier items etc but Walmart needed to be prepared for something like this and they did that by enabling free wifi in all its store and allowing users to compare products online and also order online.

Enabling in-store online purchase model

  • Strategic Decision Tools

These are tools for evaluating and deciding amongst a set of viable options for transformation. This is mostly focused on situations which cause a disruption to the existing business because of a technology change. The disruption is caused not because it is slightly better but because it is vastly better than the standard traditional approaches.

How does an organisation respond to these disruptions is a part of the decisions tools. For example, in the wake of Uber, Lyft, all the car manufacturers are getting ready for a sharing economy.

For example companies like GM know that they cannot ignore consumer behaviour and this would cause a major disruption. They came up with their own ride-sharing strategy specifically for the GM cars and they invested 500M in Lyft as well.

  • Strategic Planning Tools

These are step-by-step processes or methods used to create a strategic plan to a specific business context or challenge. An example could be to create a value proposition roadmap for the services offered by the organisation. Before the market dictates the need for rapid change, the organisation must role play and evolve before it must.

For example, the driver-less car economy is going to disrupt more businesses than we think than just car manufacturers.

Every industry that would get affected by this disruption, Uber drivers, car manufacturers, retirement homes etc would have to plan for this disruption on the basis of the value proposition that they offer right now and how it is going to change the in wake of the disruption.


The broad categories of the tools defined above form a valuable armour for organisations deciding to embark on a Digital Journey. As we go ahead, we would evaluate each of these tools in detail.

Written by 

Vikas is the CEO and Co-Founder of Knoldus Inc. Knoldus does niche Reactive and Big Data product development on Scala, Spark, and Functional Java. Knoldus has a strong focus on software craftsmanship which ensures high-quality software development. It partners with the best in the industry like Lightbend (Scala Ecosystem), Databricks (Spark Ecosystem), Confluent (Kafka) and Datastax (Cassandra). Vikas has been working in the cutting edge tech industry for 20+ years. He was an ardent fan of Java with multiple high load enterprise systems to boast of till he met Scala. His current passions include utilizing the power of Scala, Akka and Play to make Reactive and Big Data systems for niche startups and enterprises who would like to change the way software is developed. To know more, send a mail to or visit