There's a lot of shiny new objects in space \u2013 in the digital space, that is.\u00a0So, there's a lot going on in organizations \u2013 from integrating social networks to accepting electronic payments to going mobile to data-driven decision-making to transforming into a \u201cdigital organization.\u201d\nWith so many potential assets demanding new initiatives, executives are busy devising "digital strategies."\u00a0Of course, vendor-pushed technologies could meet real organizational needs too, such as the need to create new revenue streams, the need to sell more customized and personalized offerings, the need for deeper customer interactions, and the need for agile reactions to changes in the environment.\nThe question is: Are executives using the right approach to devise digital strategy so that the strategy would guide them to invest in the right initiatives?\nWhy IT strategy often failed?\nThe moment a business unit or department creates its own strategy, a door is probably opened for poor alignment with the organization's overall strategy.\u00a0The IT strategy that is created by the IT department often suffers from the same silo effect. And initiatives that are triggered from such a "siloed" strategy\u00a0hurt the organization because:\n\nThey do not really link up to organizational business strategy\nThey do not integrate other business elements that may be strategically-collaborative. That is, there is no business innovation or change.\n\nTalking about IT and business change,\u00a0Joe Peppard says, \u201cWhat also seems to have been forgotten are the lessons from these earlier attempts to leverage IT. Unfortunately, the history of IT investments in most organizations is far from stellar: Research over the years suggests that the overall failure rate of IT projects is around 70%. We know that when IT projects fail, it is usually not because the technology didn\u2019t work (although this can sometimes be the case), but because the changes required at an organizational and employee level weren\u2019t managed effectively. Quite simply, adding technology does not automatically confer expected benefits; these benefits have to be unlocked and this can only happen through achieving organizational changes."\nHow would you know whether you're simply following the same old "siloed" approach that often failed?\nWarning signs that your digital strategy might be following the IT strategy approach\nSAS VP\u00a0Jill Dych\u00e9\u00a0nicely summarizes the warning signs: \u201cThe reality of business siloes means business units have launched their own digital projects. Marketing might be experimenting with real-time product recommendations pushed to customers\u2019 smart devices, while manufacturing might be introducing sensors into the supply chain. Each business unit considers its challenges unique. Functional executives pay little heed to the connection, data integration, and analytics technologies that will ultimately be necessary to optimize these efforts. Exacerbating this is the fact that business units have managed to procure their own funding for these independent projects. They consider the chief digital officer with a wary eye, avoiding engagement lest their new colleague questions in-process work.\u201d\nClearly, you need to do things differently to make your digital strategy help meet real organizational needs.\nHow to avoid\nDerive your digital strategy\u00a0from the organization's overall strategy.\u00a0A great way to do that perhaps is to use Strategy Maps by Kaplan & Norton. However, avoid creating the equivalent of the traditional "strategic IT portfolio." Choosing from a predetermined list of assets to buy or build is not a smart idea. If you already have such a portfolio, make sure you validate each asset or initiative for strategy translation.