Let’s start with this diagram. There’s plenty of versions all saying pretty much the same thing.
There are more complicated and lengthy versions adding more steps such as balanced score cards, internal and external environmental factors, funding alternatives and the rest, all of which are relevant and can be included as and when their value is determined.
As a first cut your digital strategy can be simple and evolve. The key is to keep it simple, get started and revisit often.
Some of the differences in strategy boil down to semantics or which business school your consultant went to.
All too often everyone has ideas that fall into the area of tactics, often they are good ideas, but to assess how good or bad any idea is needs to be related back to objectives.
If the idea or tactic doesn’t deliver to a SMART objective then it’s not aligned to goals and objectives, you’re wasting your time and resources.
Time is often spent on discussing which tactics should be undertaken without any framework to assess which tactic is better than any other. Let’s assume that you have two tactics which deliver to one or more objectives. How to decide?
One method is to use is the weighted criteria, here’s a good example, http://sourcesofinsight.com/how-to-decide-with-criteria-and-weight/
The great thing with this sort of approach is that it serves as a vehicle for getting everyone involved and on the same page. It uncovers any disagreement or ambiguity.
But let’s double back to the pyramid.
This framework applies to business strategy as well a digital strategy. The unseen trap is to charge ahead with a digital strategy where there’s no well defined and agreed business strategy. Having a digital strategy drive and shape business strategy is a big mistake.
Level of detail can vary as you progress through your thinking. You don’t need to have everything 100% right from the get go. The important thing is to get started and devote some time to strategic thinking.
There’s plenty of resources online which explain the framework and process in detail.
Where a consultant adds value is helping you negotiate all this and brings to the table experience and knowledge of the digital space. How much you engage a consultant is up to you. Often it depends on how much time you can devote to getting things moving and pull yourself out of your day to day tasks.
Ideally stakeholders in the business need to be involved at some level. The time they are required will vary depending on the stage within the process.