Strong On Capacity - Short On Capability

It’s capability not capacity that matters most. That particularly applies to the digital world. The capacity of its many elements, if and when applied astutely, can be so predictive, targeted, accurate and ....... boring.


Seemingly boundless amounts of information can be collated, analysed, converted into intelligence and deployed to the advantage and benefit of both suppliers and consumers.


However, lateral, non-linear thought seems to be inconsistent with the concept. This raises questions about the degree of recognition of its value, its scope and complementary nature to digital channels.


Commerce will not thrive on algorithms alone. They provide frameworks, identify trends and profile WHAT is contained in the data-base. The essential ingredients of intuitive and analytical thoughts are invaluable in concluding WHY and HOW the raw, clustered information can, and should be applied.




The controlling, monitoring, management and administration of information that is retrieved from digital products, services and applications enable the attainment and maintenance of efficiencies. Such are the nature of the “known knowns”.


However, Big Data, algorithms and the cloud do not have all the answers, nor indeed do they pose all the questions. Much is left unasked and unanswered.


Unfulfilled potential and widespread underperformance are two common consequences. Contributing to such in all things digital are two key factors, being:




The capability statement of many entities which have entered, or are about to enter the digital world reveals a spread of deficiencies. Many skill-sets are inappropriate and/or inadequate.


Put simply, many people – external consultants included – do not have the skills, experience, qualifications, creativity or analytical expertise that are necessary to realise the latent potential.


Familiarisations with processes do not necessarily produce the required insights and outputs.


Likewise, the collection and collation of information are laudable (and should continue), but are in reality, the initial steps in a longer, integrated business journey.


The capacity, expertise and experience to analyse, effectively interpret and to convert the base information into intelligence are rare and greatly valued.


Providing an early-teenage cricketer with a Dave Warner-inspired “super bat” will not guarantee the arrival of a run-making, next-generation Test cricketer. Capacity (the super bat) needs to be complemented with, and utilised by capability.


Regrettably, the immense sums of capital which have been invested by companies, trading entities and associations in retrieving, filing and collating information merely produce a latent power-house capacity, awaiting supporting infra-structure, including human skills.




Sadly, a significant percentage of entities do not have, or have not applied, sufficient resources to effectively utilise and deploy the opportunities and they will therefore never enjoy the consequential advantages, benefits and sustainable competitive advantages.


Evidence of this abounds. Generalised non-specific communication and marketing offers (most of which are irrelevant to individual recipients) are regularly transmitted, distributed and presented. Annoyance among existing and potential customers and clients increases as a result. Therefore, sales conversion ratios remain disturbingly - and expensively – low.


The costs borne extend beyond financial. Reputational and relationship costs can be, and often are, appreciable.


In essence, consumers and clients tend to know (or believe that they know) what they want and need. With digital marketing, so too should service providers. Indeed, arguably, they should know the customers’ needs, drives and aspirations better than the customers know themselves.


Such potential. But alas, forsaken opportunities due to a lack of resources. Many cost-saving operational and Board decisions are false economies. All entities need to invest wisely and generously in capacity and capability.


Barry Urquhart

Business Analyst

Marketing Focus

M:      041 983 5555