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Why You Should Throw Away Your Digital Roadmap

By Josh Johnson & Patrick Neff

Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.” 

Technology created a new world, forever changing how we shop, learn, discover and play. In this new omnichannel world of brand engagement, where customer journeys rarely follow a single, straight path, why would business leaders still turn to an old-fashioned roadmap as a source of inspiration when planning their digital futures? Just like those printed roadmaps disappeared long ago from retail shelves, the same fate should befall roadmap approaches to digital planning.

Leaders tasked with crafting their brand’s digital experience would be better served by finding inspiration from a very different, out-of-the-box source…jigsaw puzzles.

The commonly understood activity of completing a puzzle involves crafting together many individual pieces toward the goal of creating a single, seamless vision. Today, leaders of digital are charged with a similar challenge of crafting their brands’ digital experiences by looking across a marketplace of almost limitless platforms, software-as-a-service providers and globally sourced hardware. They must then carefully fit each piece of hardware and software together under tight timelines and even tighter budgets.

That is why at Miller Zell, we have adopted a smarter, agile approach to digital planning that starts with framing boundaries and then methodically piecing together a clear solution that doesn’t require taking a single, linear course to completion. Our approach helps businesses move faster while remaining focused on the bigger picture, even as multiple activities may be occurring simultaneously.

Miller Zell’s “Puzzle Approach” to Digital Planning 

1.  Establish your boundaries first

Like a puzzle, the best place to start is laying out the framework. Clearly defining a project’s scope helps to establish clear boundaries of size, cost and level of complexity expected to be involved before any detailed work gets started. 

2.  Identify clear patterns

Using data, customer research and other insights, you can uncover patterns that provide areas of focus that make it easier to filter down to the logical solutions. 

3.  Stay focused on the bigger picture

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wasting a lot of time and energy focused on one part of a project at a time. Become agile in your approach so you can quickly adjust as needed, while remaining focused on your final output. 

4.  Don’t force things if they don’t precisely fit!

It’s not about finding an approximate fit. The true challenge is finding the right fit. Forcingthe wrong project into your digital ecosystem puts you at risk of causing confusion and wasting a lot of time and effort building around an initiative that doesn’t work the way you imagined it would. 

5.  There is value in gathering dierent perspectives

Digital planning should be a team sport because no two people look at challenges theexact same way. Diversity in ideas, approach and thinking unlocks unique perspectives that drive insights and valuable feedback toward building a better end solution.

Delivering an effective digital experience that meets your customers’ rising expectations can be challenging. But with the right approach and expert partners at your side, it can be accomplished with precision and efficiency, while eliminating the risk of making costlymistakes.

Whether you are searching for a missing piece to your digital experience, or guidance to bring your business into the 21st century, at Miller Zell we offer a wide range of digital expertise in the following areas:

  • Digital signage networks (strategy, management & content)
  • Interactive video walls (non-touch and gestural)
  • Messaging strategy, design & production
  • Environmental sensors, behavior tracking & analytics
  • Virtual, mixed and augmented reality technology
  • Digital wayfinding
  • Product personalization solutions
  • Experience/environmental gamification
  • Custom web, mobile and in-store apps

 

Contact us for innovation to grow your business using new technologies and enhanced experiences

 

 

Josh Johnson & Patrick Neff lead Miller Zell’s efforts to develop innovative customer experiences through digital products and services. Their expertise and focus go beyond signage toward the strategic use of cutting-edge technology that creates more personal experiences for customers and provides ROI for clients.