Sure, it’s an old and often-used analogy, but that’s because it’s useful: When a group of people cannot effectively work together because they’re speaking different languages, they have a Tower of Babel problem.
The digital landscape is constantly and rapidly shifting, so your team needs shared vocabulary to develop and execute strategy. Digital teams in particular need common understandings of key terms in areas such as technology. This is true even when a technology or idea is emerging or evolving (e.g., “the metaverse”). In these circumstances, a working definition can prove handy — necessary, even — to get things done.
Ensuring that concepts and terms are commonly understood doesn’t just help your existing team: It will also help new team members get up to speed quicker — and it improves collaboration with internal stakeholders and external partners. Bottom line: Don’t let communication breakdown become the Tower of Babel that keeps you from getting to better customer and business outcomes.
To Help, We’ve Created A Digital Business And Strategy Glossary For Your Use!
We’ve combed through existing Forrester IP and worked with analysts across the organization to compile a list of relevant terminology and Forrester’s current definitions. This digital business and strategy glossary — the full version of which we’ve published as a report for Forrester clients — includes terms such as:
- Cross-channel experiences. Forrester defines a cross-channel experience as “any instance in which a customer or prospect moves from one touchpoint to another to complete an objective.” Users’ cross-channel experiences — and digital teams’ efforts to improve them — are a crucial component of companies’ broader experience design and management work. Forrester has seen cross-channel experiences play a major role in industries including retail, travel, banking, and more.
- Data value exchange. Forrester defines data value exchange as “an arrangement — sometimes an explicit contract but typically an implicit understanding — in which a consumer allows a company to use their data in proportion to the value that company creates for them.” In personalized experiences, for example, the data flow between the end user and the company increases as the offering gets more personalized. The data value exchange is increasingly important in organizations’ data monetization.
- Design thinking. Forrester defines design thinking as “a method for problem-solving and innovation based on long-standing practices among professional designers and codified into five related but not sequential activities: 1) empathize; 2) define; 3) ideate; 4) prototype; and 5) test.” Forrester’s research shows that great design improves digital experiences, drives loyalty, and leads to better business outcomes. When done correctly, design thinking scales the benefits of design across the business.
- Digital ecosystem. Forrester defines a digital ecosystem as “a complex network of stakeholders — including companies, third parties, and end users — that use software to interact in ways that create value for all.” The most mature digital teams disrupt entire markets by leveraging digital ecosystems to create new products, services, experiences, and business models. To take an ecosystem approach to digital innovation and business strategy, it’s necessary to have a common understanding of what it will entail.
- Minimum viable product (MVP). Forrester defines an MVP as “any output that requires the least amount of effort to build but delivers the best ability to learn about customers’ needs.” Leading digital business and strategy teams develop MVPs — especially for digital products — based on a clear, well-informed hypothesis. Those teams move from creation to evaluation once they’ve made something that they believe users will love, rely on, or otherwise get value from.
So take advantage of Forrester’s report, The Digital Business And Strategy Glossary: Terms, Concepts, And Definitions, to spend less time debating definitions and more time taking action on digital initiatives that drive growth. Who knows? Your tower may actually reach the heavens!
[This blog post was coauthored by Ashley Villarreal.]