Do you need a digital strategy? Yes, no, well…maybe


Interestingly, two related posts from two local government CIO types pop up in my feed reader within a few days of each other.

Firstly, Steve Halliday points to the Solihull digital strategy.

Then Rich Copley says we really shouldn’t be writing digital strategies.

Oh dear! Who’s right?

Both are.

Some organisations need a digital strategy. They are at the point in their evolution where having some of this stuff spelt out in a separate document and process is helpful.

Others though can take a different approach, with digital being embedded in individual service plans, or what have you.

It all depends. Depends on how things are structured in your organisation. What the personalities are. How these sorts of programmes and projects have gone in the past.

It’s one of the reasons why I don’t think local government needs a single digital service. It needs several, with a plurality of approaches. If there is one thing that digital teaches us, it’s that one-size-fits-all approaches don’t work.

At Adur and Worthing, I will be writing a digital strategy. It will help focus on what I need to get done to support all the services areas in what they want to achieve.

More on that soon.

Update: Jason Caplin answers the question ‘why have a digital strategy?’

3 thoughts on “Do you need a digital strategy? Yes, no, well…maybe”

  1. I think you’re right of course Dave. There’s a middle ground and (as usual) I was occupying an extreme position for the fun of it.

    Much depends on what the digital strategy is for.

    Gov.Uk cites Hampshire’s digital strategy as an exemplar:

    If you look at it you can see that this is about much more than automating council services and I agree that the kind of improvements set out in that document need central mandate – they aren’t going to ‘bubble up’ from within the council.

    Off topic, but I note that they’ve managed to make their digital strategy a whopping 16mb PDF at only 16 pages – so presumably the good people of Hampshire must already have pretty good broadband or else they won’t be able to download it 🙂

  2. Dave, some examples.

    I think really good sales organisations have a sales strategy. Even if they have been doing it for years

    I think really good product companies have a product strategy.

    I expect most good authorities have an economic development strategy. Not because it’s new in their evolution.

    So perhaps having a Digital strategy does not signify a place in the organisations evolution?

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