When embarking on a digital journey, a company must first diagnose its digital maturity. This as-is assessment serves as a starting point for digital transformation and can be performed using a digital maturity model that encompasses the following key areas: the technology, the people, and the customers.
The first focus area to address is the technology. This is done by taking inventory of all the digital systems and assets throughout the company. This step is necessary to understand what technology is currently available and how it is used across the organisation. It also helps to identify the processes or business areas that are already digitized, which systems are currently integrated with each other, where there may be systemic overlap or where synergies can be found. Another key finding in this step is determining the probable expiration date of the existing systems. As technology advances at an exponential rate, some legacy systems may cause disruption to the digital transformation if they are not easily replaced or integrated with newer systems.
The next focus area is the people within the organisation. At the management level, digital transformation must be made a top priority in order to filter down within the organisation. It is also important to get a feeling for how digitally accepting and digitally literate the employees are. If they are unable or unwilling to adopt new technologies or adapt to new ways of working digitally, this will most certainly disrupt the digital transformation. The company needs to provide education and support at all levels of the business to ensure that the digital transformation is not only accepted by, but also accelerated through the people of the business. The pace at which the digital transformation can take place is largely determined by the employees of the organisation.
Last but not least, a digital maturity assessment must address the company’s customers. Digital transformation should ultimately benefit the end consumer and aim to fulfill their evolving needs. It is essential to recognise how the customer interacts with the company’s products and services, and whether introducing new or improved digital touchpoints along the customer journey could improve the overall experience. This does not necessarily imply that the entire process should be digitized, but rather that the customer journey should be optimised for a digital world. As technology becomes more advanced, so do consumers’ expectations, and a company needs to strategically position itself to evolve with these changing demands.
“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.“
– George Westerman, MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy
The foundation for a successful digital strategy
A digital maturity assessment is a key component in the success of any digital strategy and is therefore a necessary step for any company beginning its digital journey. By placing the focus on the technology, the people, and the customers, the maturity assessment provides a foundation on which the different streams of a digital strategy can be built. This ensures both that the digital transformation is tailored to the company’s individual needs, and that realistic goals and targets for the digital journey can be defined.