Digital Maturity

It’s the early 1990’s and the world is getting exposed to the wonders of the internet for the first time. Our possibilities became endless and we imagined a future where everything would be done digitally, from online dating, banking, shopping and more. While we’ve experienced a ton of innovation thanks to the internet we still have businesses which force us to deal with paper. So why is this happening?

Is it because businesses just don’t care about customers or the environment and just want to keep using paper? No, it’s a much more complex problem which involves the digital maturity of a business. So what is digital maturity? The digital maturity model was developed by Google in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group as a measure of businesses ability to adapt to changes in digital technology.

The maturity test examines four different areas of the business being the:

  • Attitudes & Foundations
  • People, Skills & Processes
  • Systems & Information
  • Outputs & Experiences

You might be surprised to notice that systems and information is only one component which impacts the digital maturity of a business. This means that just investing in digital technologies doesn’t mean your business is digitally mature. The maturity test looks at these four areas and measures how ready a business is for digital change which are detailed below.

Attitudes & Foundations
Are foundational competencies which are crucial to getting digital transformation right. These refer to your businesses culture, leadership, budget and innovation. Having a culture where digital is seen as key to the businesses success or strategy is crucial because it creates habits and behaviours within your employees which foster a positive digital mindset. As humans we aren’t always comfortable with change and by having a culture that fosters a positive attitude towards digital it means implementations of new processes or technology are more successful. One important lesson I’ve learnt in management is “if everyone is responsible, then no-one is responsible” and same is true in driving digital transformation, your business needs a digital leader or champion who can ensure that digital is a part of the business strategy. This person or team is also needed to motivate for digital transformation to be part of the budget and the leadership needs to understand whether there is enough budget available to drive innovation and evolution of digital transformation.

People, Skills & Processes
Digital is as much about people as it is technology, a laptop is just a tool used by a human to produce the work. We’ve already identified the need for a digital leader in the business, however they also need support either from an agency of specialists or by building a support team. You can have the right digital culture but if this isn’t matched with the right skills your transformation journey will stall, you can’t be all ambition with no ammunition. This is why your recruitment processes should start including digital skill sets which will support the businesses transformation objectives. Another benefit of having the right skills and culture is the understanding that digital knowledge can’t stagnate and that constant learning is important. Your business should prioritize collaboration with the goal of digital upskilling between departments. Another difficult change which needs to be driven by the leadership in the business is a change in how projects are managed. Your business needs to start adapting digital project management and agile management processes to accelerate digital innovation.

Systems & Innovations
Efficient and effective use of technology, data and information are important elements to scale and grow your digital transformation. Some technology can have a high learning curve and cost, but the right technology can improve tools and systems within your business and these improvements for your employees directly leads to benefits for your customers. Many businesses are still using legacy systems which limits their efficiency and access to data from their operations. This data is crucial for reporting and insights to best utilise your resources and BI tools can unlock improvements and innovations for your business. As the old saying goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”

Outputs & Experiences
Internally and externally, the outputs and the user experiences have a crucial effect on digital maturity of the business. It all starts with communications and whether digital is a part of these planning efforts when sending communications internally and externally. The next is how you are adapting to digital platforms to benefit your customers through service delivery. It doesn’t mean that the human touch needs to be replaced with bots but it does mean your business should consider Whatsapp if that’s how your customers want to communicate. The final component is your internal systems, which directly impact how well you can service your customers. This doesn’t just mean providing employees with digital tools but also ensuring that they have adequate support to reduce downtime and receive training.

Why does this matter?
Focusing on internal improvements directly passes on benefits to the customer. I’d like to tell the story of the slow elevator which was a pain point at a large hotel, so their first thought was to make the elevator faster by installing new lifts and upgrading the motors, but they found out that this would be too expensive and the disruption would be too much for customers. They then re-framed the problem by putting themselves in their customers shoes and realized the paint point wasn’t the speed of the elevator but that waiting is annoying, the solution then became to make the wait feel shorter by playing music, adding mirrors and hand sanitizer (pre-Covid). This shows how you need the right mindset before starting digital transformation

Digital first companies excel at this because they started with a digital foundation, however businesses established prior to the digital era need to focus on their digital transformation. While pandemic accelerated many innovations like grocery deliveries, contactless payment options, email receipts there are still more opportunities to innovate in all areas above. The takeaway from this article shouldn’t be to scare you that your business is not digitally mature, it’s should make you aware that by identifying and analysing your business with a digital mindset you can make incremental improvements to your business.

If you are interested in pursuing a digital transformation journey, don’t hesitate to contact us today for our sales and marketing consultation service.