Sam Bayer


Stratego & Digital Transformation

On a recent weekend, I had the delightful opportunity to sit down with my grandson for a game of Stratego. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s a deceptively simple strategy game: on a board of 10×10 squares, two players control two armies of 30 pieces each. The pieces conquer each other by rank, and initially, you have to make moves without knowing what kind of piece you’re going up against.

It’s a fantastic game for kids and adults. What’s more, it has a lot to teach us about digital transformation strategy. Here are my takeaways after reflecting on the similarities between Stratego and the situation facing manufacturers who want to launch ecommerce.

Stratego is a logical process of risk elimination

At the beginning of every Stratego game, neither player has any idea what they’re up against. Because the identifying characteristics of each piece are on the backside, you’re confronted with a wall of identical pieces. The only way to start building a picture of your world is to literally take a step—moving one of your pieces in an attack on an enemy piece.

If your piece outranks the enemy piece, you’ll win and claim the square. If the enemy piece outranks yours, you lose your piece.

Are you itching to play yet? 😊

In other words, each Stratego move is an experiment in 3 stages:

1)   Take action and interact with the world.

2)   Survey the results of your move and add it to your picture of the world.

3)   Decide how best to repeat 1) now that you have a more complete picture of the world.

If you know anything about Corevist, you know we love logical processes—especially when it comes to risk elimination.

Which brings me to digital transformation through B2B ecommerce.

Ecommerce rollouts are best played like Stratego

Here’s the parallel. When you launch ecommerce, you might think you know exactly what you’re “up against” as far as software, requirements, customer preferences, and culture change within your organization. And while you’re never starting ecommerce with a totally blank slate, you actually know far less than you think you do.  

I’ve seen this more times than I can count. Unless you’re working with live software, putting it in front of your real users (customers and internal stakeholders), you’re not increasing your visibility into the ecommerce terrain.

How do you gain visibility without high risk? By launching ecommerce with a scalable rollout plan.

Scalable ecommerce rollout: Your logical process of risk elimination

A scalable ecommerce rollout plan allows you to eliminate risks one at a time, just like in Stratego, before your ecommerce store goes live to the entire customer segment for which it’s intended.

What does that look like? In a nutshell, it means live focus groups with your internal users and your customers in which we ask a provocative question: “Why can’t we put this into production today?”  

That question is the heart of logical risk elimination. When we ask that question about your Corevist Commerce store, we’re putting your new solution up against the unknown—things like tribal knowledge, departmental processes you had no visibility into, and the ways your customers actually interact with you. All of that is exposed in these focus groups, and we get the information we need to adjust your Corevist Commerce solution accordingly.

This process is so important, we won’t launch Corevist Commerce without it. It allows us (and you) to fail early as we tailor the software to the unique needs of your users. That means your B2B ecommerce solution hits the ground running, ready to process millions of dollars in revenue.

Now that’s a game of strategy we can all enjoy.

Moving forward: FREE case study

Wondering what a scalable ecommerce rollout looks like in real life? Download this case study on Mannington Mills. You’ll learn how this leading manufacturer of flooring launched a B2B ordering portal first, then added a catalog with rich content and grew sales 150% in the digital channel.

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Image courtesy of John Meyer. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.