Tag: digital strategy

Family Furniture Store
Digital Transformation of a Family Furniture Store



There’s a family ran furniture store operated by a third-generation owner named Daniel. She’s bright, educated, and highly experienced; after all, she grew up around the business. As the story about her business unfolds, imagine what you would do in her position.

The Family Furniture Store has grown to 7 brick-and-mortar stores and most of their business comes from surrounding residents and business in the urban areas. They have built a strong foundation for the business but lately profits are declining.

THE FAMILY FURNITURE BRAND AT A GLANCE • Good Business Processes • On-Trend Purchasing • Centralized Warehousing • Good Marketing Talent • Invested Heavily in Technology • Coast of Advertising Began to Outweigh the Acquisition of Customers

The Business isn’t performing the way it once did? Why?

Sales overall have been less than previous years, but their E-Commerce stores is the greatest source of lost sales. This is at a time when you’d think online sales would increase. Daniel wonders what to do about it. What would you do about it?

At first, Daniel was overwhelmed with how to come up with solutions for this problem. The more she thought about, the more questions arose. One day she came across a structured way to diagnose her business, determine where she was, and where she wanted to go.

She assessed the situation. Retail costs are higher, and E-commerce margins are shrinking. Bigger brands are taking over. She discovered during this process of self-analysis that there were missed opportunities. Her inventory didn’t offer the wide variety that some of the other stores did. The urban areas had a combination of rental apartments and new single-family homes.

She also took a few weeks to articulate her strategic ambition and her unique competitive advantage. Many businesses trying to refine their strategic advantage by starting with technology. While technology can be a source of inspiration, everyone has access to the same technology. That’s not where most businesses create their competitive advantage. Strategy is where creating a competitive advantage happens. The people and culture of innovation will sustain it. Technology and communications deliver the strategy.

A Good Strategy Has 3 Component

Problems arise when one of these components are missing.

Daniel realized, after having gone through a detailed self-analysis and review of what customers want (including the number of customers, etc.,..),  that the role of the company had to change, and to do that, she had to change the business. Her next decision was bold and courageous. Courageous because there was no guarantee of success. She was only certain she couldn’t stay where she was. Her strategy was to innovate her services and the entire business model itself.

Daniel’s Preparation for Transformation


The resource requirements for Family Furniture had to change if Daniel’s plan for transforming her business stood a chance of success. She was moving from being one of many furniture sellers to a more exclusive pioneer inventing some new way of doing business. So that required a shift of resources from the time-intensive retail model to the absolute focus and attention of senior leaders. Senior leaders must dedicate the time required to innovate their business model. This is the only way a strategy can be developed.



As Daniel’s business picked up, her technology needs changed dramatically. She had to build specific apps to enable tenants to take pictures that was due to be returned. AI had to identify the furniture as being part of the Family Furniture inventory. More often than not, rental furniture due to returned to the warehouse, were sold off the website before it could even leave the house.

As Daniel’s business grew into a second-hand and furniture rental market. She had to gain new knowledge and make a new network of connections in order to make this transformation happen. By going through a structured process, she was able to gain enough insight to begin having the right conversations and instruct the technologist what she needed. It was not having the technologist show up at dictate to her what she needed.

Daniel took the time and energy necessary to develop a strategic plan based on evidence, educated guessing, and determination to see how to add value to her community of customers.

We’d welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you about how technology can implement your strategy in ways you never thought possible.

Please call us at (888) 753-5060.



Digitally Transforming Your Business in the Midst of a Crisis



Digital technologies are revealing what works inside your company and what doesn’t. Companies can no longer survive on just hard work and hoping things will work out. Leaders will have to put the mental work into designing a company that learns and responds to constantly changing customer demands.

The global pandemic has accelerated growth for some companies and demise in others. Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies has become a matter of life and death for organizations. Digital technologies have, and continue, to raise the bar. There are two aspects of repositioning your company for success.

Think of Technology as an Enabler for Your Business Strategy

Just because your employees are working from home does not make your organization digital. It’s not the same as being a digital company. There are two key areas of being a digital company: the first is digitizing your operations and the second is being digital.

Digitizing is having operational excellence by having end-to-end delivery that works flawlessly. Your customers can call you on the phone, connect with you online, or do things for themselves using an app on their cellphone. In an instant your able to anticipate your customer’s needs and address them in the moment they arise. You deliver better on what you’ve always done.

Being digital is about doing things for your customer that you could have never done before. Digital companies are positioned to deliver new customer value propositions. This a move beyond what you have offered in the past. What problems can you solve now for your customers that were never considered part of your mandate before.

Digitizing Involves Cleaning Inefficient Processes
As Information technologies have been supporting business processes for decades, it has created silos that address specific needs. After digitizing, the corporate networks and infrastructure services form the basis for the operational backbone of the entire organization. (Source: Jeanne W. Ross, Designed for Digital: How to Architect Your Business for Sustained Success)

Digitizing builds an operation core that allows seamlessness and visibility to your customers.


While becoming “digital” is still a challenge, Nordstrom’s digitizing efforts have really paid off (they were the first department store to start using apps in 2011). Nordstrom’s “digitizing” efforts put them in a stronger position, more than any other department store, to deal with uncertainties when the pandemic struck.


When developing your digital offering, the challenge is to solve the customer’s problem so completely that they can’t imagine life without it.


A good example of this is Amazon Prime. Customer’s sign-up for it. They pay for it every month, make use of some its benefits, and probably don’t think twice about it. Although Amazon wasn’t born digital (it started as an online bookseller), it has continuously been inspired by technology. They invented the online shopping cart. When Amazon saw what was possible with robotics it became so effective with warehouse management, they no longer restricted themselves to books. When they looked at what was happening with Social Media, they moved away from a few paid-for book reviews to everybody reviewing all the products and let people cherry pick the reviews they find most valuable.

Schneider Electric has provided electrical equipment for over a hundred years

It’s new, digitally-inspired offering, is an intelligent energy management solution called Eco-Struxure™ — an IoT-enabled, plug and play, open, interoperable platform that helps customers optimize their use of electric power all from a central dashboard on their computer screen. In addition to helping companies save money, the digital platform also delivers enhanced values around security, safety, and predictability (it can even predict and take actions to avoid brownouts).

Notice how both of these digital products provide new solutions based on customer insight. The digital offering is a response to your understanding of what’s possible and what your customer’s want.

Digital Offerings are Built on Digital Platforms


Two technology environments are necessary for full digital transformations. It starts with building onto a digital platform where reusable components are created to build your solution. They allow for rapid research and development. This is technology that invites trial and error. You can get rid of things quickly. It’s about experiments not major launches. But this digital platform is built on the cloud and is foundational to everything else. You gain customer insights, optimize processes, and manage your supply chain. This is the operational backbone of a digitized company. The second environment involves learning what your customer wants and being inspired enough by digital technology to offer new ways to deliver information-enriched customer solutions that are highly personalized. These two pipelines rely on one another for data in order to deliver the digital offering.

A digital offering represents the intersection between what's possible and what customers want.
A digital offering represents the intersection between what’s possible and what customers want. [Source: J.W. Ross, “Let Your Digital Strategy Evolve,” MIT CISR Research Briefing)
Mission Not Structure/Collaboration Not Hierarchy

Traditionally, to get something done, you turned to structure. The problem with structure is that it stabilizes in an environment where offerings are unpredictable. We have to identify and respond to emerging customer needs as they happen. It can’t be done effectively with matrixed hierarchal organization. It’s too slow.

Digital Transformation is a huge topic. We barely scraped the surface with this micro-blog. Business environments change rapidly and organizations have to position themselves as much as possible to change quickly as well. Being “adaptable” will be the most important quality for a company to develop. You learn something. You adapt. Your customer needs something different now, you adapt. The question of how to design your company is slippery because it is constantly evolving. It’s learning process of figure out what works.


All of these things can be challenging. IronOrbit can at least set you up on firm reliable ground so that you can reach higher, experiment, and take risks all without losing your balance.


Give us a call at (888) 753-5060.