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Like It or Not, Digital Maturity Represents the Future of Your Business

March 21, 2017
Like It or Not, Digital Maturity Represents the Future of Your Business
We are currently experiencing an enormous shift known as the digital transformation, and we are only at the beginning of this process. This disruption is occurring in every industry, just at different speeds. Learn the eight dimensions of digital maturity that will help your organization thrive!

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. Your organization is now dependent upon your digital maturity. Your ability to use digital tools to increase efficiency, improve outreach, and stave off risk will mean the difference in your future. We are currently experiencing an enormous shift known as the digital transformation, and we are only at the beginning of this process. In the end, this historic period will change the dynamics of industry. Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix are the headline-grabbing, technology darlings that most people point to as the model for the digital transformation. Yet, the truth is that there is not an organization in the world that isn’t experiencing this transformation. If you don’t think you are, well you’re welcome to join companies like Blockbuster, Sears, and Kodak who, in stark reality, have seen how this transformation can dramatically upset the future.

This disruption is occurring in every industry, just at different speeds. It is happening in the consumer packaged goods industry, and I’m sure you are beginning to see the signs: the way you reach out and connect with customers, the importance data now plays in decision-making, and the tools you purchase for your workforce. Digital maturity plays a role in all of this. It’s the organizations that learn to leverage digital tools most effectively who will best be able to serve customers, augment its team, streamline back office processes, utilize data to make better decisions, and journey forward with innovation.

I’ve identified eight separate, yet equally critical, dimensions of digital maturity. I assess organizations, in every conceivable industry, in these dimensions. Examined holistically, (as well as within each individual dimension) they present you with a picture of digital maturity. It is helpful to study each of these dimensions to identify where you can improve your maturity and protect the health of your business. I want to briefly summarize each specific dimension so you can understand how each of them make-up critical pieces of the digital maturity puzzle.

Leadership Digital Readiness

Digital maturity starts at the top. It begins with the leadership. Foremost, you as a leader must have complete buy in for your business to be more digitally mature. This doesn’t mean you can just write a check. You must have a vested interest in learning about technology and how it can be positively harnessed. You understand your organization better than anyone, therefore you have a unique ability to identify ways technology and digital tools can lead to improvement. It’s no longer okay to pass technology decisions on to other people. You must have the courage to inspire your teams to develop innovation. How invested are you in this process, in creating a digital culture? The answer to that question is fundamental.

Digital Workforce

It is important to proactively identify the digital skills that you feel need to mature. Then find out if you have them; if you don’t, go out seek these skills. This may be by hiring a new team member, developing an existing team member’s skillset, contracting out work to an individual with the needed skills, or hiring a vendor that specializes in the needed skill. These are important ways in which you can augment your digital workforce.

Transformational Design Capabilities

The digital transformation requires redesigning many critical areas, including technology infrastructure, staffing alignment, business strategy, and the production and delivery of products and services. This isn’t a small deal. It’s a complete revamp of the way you conduct your processes and strategy. Although history is beginning to show it’s those that are willing to flexibly adjust their organization to the digital transformation who will flourish, and those who don’t, well…

System of Engagement Effectiveness

This goes beyond marketing. Systems of engagement mastery require fully understanding the entire journey and tailoring that journey to each specific person. People recognize and appreciate when you can use digital tools to serve them most effectively. We call this a “technology halo.” You will be compared not only to your direct competitors but organizations in other industries as well in the way you engage with your customers using technology. It’s a battle you don’t want to lose.

System of Record Effectiveness

Automating back office processes can have several key benefits. First off, it makes you more efficient and scalable. Secondly, it allows your team to focus on tasks that are uniquely human (those tasks that require emotional intelligence and critical thinking) while allowing technology to take care of those tasks that don’t. This way your team can fully concentrate on essential tasks, such as fulfilling the needs of customers and team members, while leaving other tasks, such as certain repetitive accounting processes, up to technology.

Technology Completeness and Leverage

An enormous problem that I constantly see is when organizations will spend large amounts of money on technology and then only use a fraction of what that technology is capable of. This is an enormous head-scratcher for me. Meanwhile, many organizations do not spend the time and effort to effectively train their team on how to use the tools they purchase. Technology is a tool. It only has as much power as the people behind it. Training your team to use these tools should not be an afterthought. It should be fully baked into the onboarding and implementation process.

Data Maturity

Data, when used properly, can give you an unmatched insight. That’s when it’s used properly. Using data properly requires you to turn data into information then to knowledge and then finally to wisdom. This, in turn, allows you to see the Truth. When doing this, you are able to make smarter and faster decisions. Being meticulous and innovative in considering the data you collect and utilize is a step toward maturity. So too is harnessing the power of business intelligence tools and actively training your team on how to use these tools. Data is a powerful resource that you must harvest and refine.

Organizational Risk and Control

Increasing dependence on digital tools does not come without risk. Your data is valuable and certainly enticing to many in cyberspace. It has a financial value in the market, and so people will try and get at it. Protecting this data is critical. Not only creating a strong network but also actively training your team about the dangers they face online. A natural disaster could also have enormous ramifications. Have you developed a comprehensive disaster recovery plan? Constantly monitoring your vulnerabilities in these areas is an important part of digital maturity. There’s rewards to digital maturity, but there are also risks.

The beauty of maturity, in life as in technology, is the increase in experience and the positive impact the desire for constant growth delivers. Successfully navigating the digital transformation requires an effort to be constantly and deliberately maturing in all eight of these dimensions.

When organizations ask us to assess their digital maturity, these eight dimensions represent the foundation of our assessment. Consider all of these eight dimensions. Which of these are most critical, right now, for you? In what dimensions are you weakest? Finally, it’s important to be thoughtful about how deeply you want your organization to mature. Are you comfortable just dabbling in these dimensions, or do you want to be a leader in the market? The answer to the question may help define the future of your business.