How to build a successful digital business

Successful digital businesses are built, not bought.

If there is one major lesson I have learnt from the years of being involved with Yuppiechef - it's that successful digital businesses are built, not bought.

What that means is that a great digital business needs to integrate digital + business into a cohesive system, which works holistically as a unit. In Yuppiechef's case, a lot of the technology which was used was built in-house.

These business' are organised around teams collaborating to produce a product or customer outcome, rather than individuals with different functional expertise working together on a project.

Plugging digital tools into an existing business and thinking that it's going to produce the same kind of unified digital dynamic is where the problem lies with most organisations that are attempting a 'digital transformation'.

The parts - if not carefully integrated with each other - do not magically create 'the whole' that originally was intended. The entire system needs to work as a unit and success here requires a different kind of think and organising of team efforts.

The term being used for this digital-first way of working is fusion teams.

Jon Cherry

A fusion team is a multidisciplinary team that blends technology and business domain expertise and shares accountability for business and technology outcomes.

Fusion teams herald a new form of value delivery. Instead of organizing work by responsibilities within business functions, fusion teams are multidisciplinary. They are organized to digitalize business capabilities, providing technology solutions to deliver business or customer outcomes.
Image courtesy of Gartner

What this also means is the the demand for technology skills outside of the traditional IT function is growing rapidly. It's not that all marketing folk now need to learn Python and fantasise about the latest 27 inch monitor from Dell, but a basic skillset in emerging technologies will not do any short-term harm to your social life.

How we work is not only changing because most of us are now preferring to WFH. How teams of specialists organise and produce business value in a digital world is also going through a fast transformation.

Don't be surprised if soon you are seen as a marketing expert who works on building commercially-viable NFTs, rather than being in 'a marketing department that gets to sometimes work on NFT projects'.

What Are Fusion Teams?
Gartner data shows that at least 84% of companies and 54% of government entities have set up fusion teams designed to deliver digital products rather than projects ✔ Learn why fusion teams are on the rise for organizations. #GartnerSYM #CIO
How Fusion Teams Will Define the Future of Business - Spryker
All organizations benefit from adopting the practices of digitally native companies. One way of achieving this is by embracing fusion teams.