As in life, moving from strategy to execution requires a carefully thought out plan. This serves as a road map that will help you understand how to realize all of the opportunities that are presented in the strategy.

When it comes to undergoing a digital transformation, a digital strategy is key; and when it comes to developing a strategy, a digital strategist can be an integral player, ensuring that an organization has the insights and resources necessary to keep up with digital trends and complete a digital transformation. Here are five key things that should always be considered when making your plan.

1. Strategic Enablement

One of the most important considerations for a digital opportunity is how well it enables the company’s overall strategic goals. To get an accurate assessment of the effect your plans will have on the enterprise as a whole, you have to assess the opportunity according to its relevance and benefit to each of the organization’s objectives.

Your digital strategy consultant should analyze the total impact of a digital strategy during the earliest stages of planning. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing a plan that seems solid on one end but turns out to be detrimental on another. For example, ramping up your social media presence and responsiveness is a common but effective strategy for boosting customer engagement. However, companies that lack web-savvy staff or an adequate technological infrastructure can end up spending significant amounts of time, money and manpower trying to make it work. The result is often a net loss, despite the validity of the plan itself.

The most effective digital strategy helps your organization reach multiple goals, such as attracting new clientele while also increasing the efficiency and productivity of the marketing team. By using data-driven insights, you can come to a more informed decision about how a certain strategy affects every aspect of the operation, and whether a digital strategy will be worth pursuing in the long run.

2. Timing

The time taken to complete each of the opportunities should be assessed and properly sequenced. Timing is everything in the ever-changing digital world—not only for the implementation of a strategy, but for each of its steps, too.

Good timing is a combination of luck and insight, with the latter heavily influencing the former. By keeping a close eye on market conditions, social trends, competitors’ activities and industry-wide developments, you will be better equipped to leverage your luck when you’re putting your digital strategy into action.

The risk for moving either too quickly or too slowly are often mirror images of each other. Take, for instance, a digital strategy that incorporates trending news and conversation topics in an effort to position the organization as a news-breaker and thought-leader. On one hand, jumping on a juicy bit of speculative industry news and moving ahead with related content and other marketing collateral before you have all of the information can be problematic if the information turns out to be false. But waiting to see how things pan out may cause you to lose out on the chance to be at the forefront of a developing situation, making this digital strategy moot.

3. Cost

When thinking about digital capabilities, the operating and hardware costs should also be assessed. Effective digital strategy consulting takes the cost of your plans into account, helping your organization save money across the board. These savings often come from efficiencies that are put in place to make sure your digital transformation goes smoothly, such as updated enterprise resource planning or marketing automation software.

While executing a digital strategy can have significant costs, a digital strategist, along with your digital strategy team, can help your organization achieve a greater return on your investment.

4. KPIs

You can’t expect a favorable outcome for your digital strategy without determining the indicators of success for the execution of your strategic initiatives. These key performance indicators need to be tracked and visualized so that you can maintain a comprehensive view of the organization’s progress.

Evaluating the effectiveness of a digital strategy requires a solid understanding of operational details. You must be able to answer questions about whether your existing technology, budget and manpower are up to the task, as well as to determine how a digital strategy affects your organization and what it measures.

5. Resources

Having a strategy is key for undergoing a digital transformation, but if that strategy includes steps or undertakings that your company is not equipped to handle, then it is a strategy that will most likely fail. When coming up with your digital strategy, a digital consultant should consider the manpower at your company: who is best equipped to work on what, and if you need more people in order to execute properly.

At the start of developing your plan for digital transformation, sit down with your digital strategist and make it clear who on your team is available to take on new digital tasks; who has the capability to handle certain technical assignments; and who will be unable to devote time or energy to new projects. This will help a consultant get a better idea of whether there are ample resources available, or whether your company might look into making a new hire (or multiple).

When undergoing a digital transformation, a digital strategy is key. In order to develop an effective strategy, it can be helpful to rely on someone who is an expert in the field, such as a digital strategist. By bringing on a consultant, you can have an impartial set of eyes that can look at what your company needs and help you get to where you want to go.