IATE Term of the Week: Digital Strategy


Digital strategy is one of the most widely used terms today. What does it mean and why is it often mentioned together with digital transformation?

Digital Strategy

It is easy to guess what “digital strategy” is about when we analyse each of the two parts of this term: digital relates to all digital tools and means used to achieve a certain goal; strategy is a carefully prepared plan for action. A marketing director can see it as the mix between social media and digital channels; for an IT person a digital strategy is intrinsically related to the cloud; for a financial executive, it means the online sources of revenue.

IATE search Digital strategy. https://iate.europa.eu/search/result/1634898737030/1

Digital strategy alone is quite easy to understand if we know the dictionary definition of the term “strategy” behind “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time”[1] and “the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal”[2]. However, in order to understand what exactly the term relates to we need a context.

Digital Strategy vs digital transformation

In fact, both digital strategy and transformation have very similar definitions. They both relate to the efficient use of digital tools for the benefit of an organistaion or a company. Digital strategy is “a plan that uses digital resources to achieve one or more objectives“[3] and digital transformation is about the “use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems. It is about transforming processes that were non-digital or manual to digital processes. “[4]

The EU Digital Strategy, for instance, is built on three main streams of action: technology that works for people, a fair and competitive digital economy and the creation of an open, democratic and sustainable society. It is also one of the hot topics of the EU’s Parliament agenda this week. MEPs will take part in a debate with the Commission and the Slovenian Presidency, to present their expectations for the 21-22 October European Council, which is set to focus on COVID-19, the EU’s Digital Strategy, the rising energy costs and migration. The EU Digital Strategy will help to realise the EU Digital Transformation.


Strategy | Definition of Strategy by Merriam-Webster. 2021. Strategy | Definition of Strategy by Merriam-Webster. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strategy. [Accessed 20 October 2021].

Joe McKendrick. 2021. What, Exactly, Is A Digital Strategy? It Depends Upon Who You Ask. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2016/06/04/what-exactly-is-a-digital-strategy-it-depends-upon-who-you-ask/?sh=3090606b7e81. [Accessed 20 October 2021].

Shaping Europe’s Digital Future. European Commission. February 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/shaping-europe-digital-future_en#documents [Accessed 20 October 2021].

Agenda | News | European Parliament. 2021. Agenda | News | European Parliament. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/agenda. [Accessed 20 October 2021]. Adage Tech. Adage Technologies. 2021. Digital Transformation or Digital Strategy | Adage Tech. [ONLINE] Available at: https://adagetechnologies.com/digital-strategy-digital-transformation/. [Accessed 20 October 2021].

[1] Joe McKendrick. 2021. What, Exactly, Is A Digital Strategy? It Depends Upon Who You Ask.

[2] ibid.

[3] Strategy | Definition of Strategy by Merriam-Webster. 2021.

[4] ibid.

Written by Daniela Ignatova

She holds degrees in both Public Relations and European Governance. Currently, Daniela is combining her passion for communications and social media with her interest in the work of European institutions.