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Crafting a digital strategy is essential in today’s competitive market. Covid-19 is proof enough of how important it is to be agile and ready to adapt to changes quickly.
Amid lockdowns and quarantines, organizations had to pivot and embrace digital transformations earlier than they expected. Unfortunately, not everyone was ready for such a significant change, exposing vulnerability and a lack of readiness to evolve.
Of course, nobody expected a global pandemic to happen. However, the fact remains that change is continuously happening, so going digital is no longer an option, but a necessity. On top of that, you needed to act quickly to avoid getting left behind, but you also needed a clear vision of how to become digitally mature.
So, what exactly is digital maturity? You might hear this term coming up more often now that businesses are trying to integrate more technology into their operations. If you own a business, it matters more than ever.
What is digital maturity?
There is no one definition for digital maturity, as you might hear different variations, but it generally has to do with your digital capabilities. According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), digital maturity measures your companies ability to create value through digital means.
When speaking of digital capabilities, this is not just about your technologies or IT infrastructure. You also have to consider other organisational aspects, such as your team, processes and culture. Think of it this way — even if you invested in the most advanced digital systems, they would be useless if your team did not know how to use them properly, were trained effectively and embraced them.
Overall, digitally mature organisations can readily take advantage of and respond to changing customer demands and market dynamics influenced by technology.
Related: How to Push Your Company to Digital Maturity
Digital maturity vs. Digital transformation
Digital maturity and digital transformation are often confused despite being different things. Whereas digital maturity is about your capability to implement technological changes to respond to market conditions, digital transformation involves the integration of technologies into all your business processes to create fundamental change.
Thus, to undergo a successful digital transformation, you first need to understand your digital maturity. Otherwise, you may run into problems, resulting in wasted time, effort and money, not to mention potential impact on marketshare, revenue and competitive advantage.
Why is digital maturity important, and how can I achieve it?
Before the pandemic, businesses were already starting to adopt technologies to automate their processes. Covid-19 merely accelerated the pace of digital transformation, emphasizing the importance of digital maturity to grow your business.
Change is the only constant in such a fast-paced world, so you need to be agile and resilient to face these changes head-on. Digital maturity helps set your company apart by giving you a competitive advantage. In addition, it enhances your operational efficiency and allows you to offer a seamless customer experience.
As those around you, along with new players entering your space, become more digitally mature, it will become a necessity for you to tackle this question. The longer you leave it the more risk you attract and the less likely you are to be in a position to offer comparable customer experiences. Time really is of the essence when it comes to addressing digital maturity.
Related: The 5 Best Digital Marketing Strategies to Empower Your Business
So how can you achieve digital maturity?
First, it is essential to understand that digital maturity does not come overnight. Much like how you approach other strategies, you need to build a roadmap to plan each step and investment thoroughly. Here’s some points for consideration to work toward achieving digital maturity:
1. Create a vision
No matter how traditional or digitised your current processes are, you should set a clear and realistic vision for your strategy. Having an idea guides you in the right direction with your digital transformation efforts. It also helps employees understand what they are working toward and why they are doing it, boosting their morale and productivity.
2. Evaluate your current digital maturity
Start by evaluating your current digital maturity level to know where your company stands. To do this, you can answer a few key questions, such as the following:
- What digital initiatives have you implemented in your business so far?
- Have your current technologies generated desirable results?
- Are your digital initiatives giving you a competitive advantage?
- Is your team comfortable or familiar with using your digital systems and adopting new ones?
- How have your digital initiatives helped with customer experience?
Related: 4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Embrace the Next Phase of Digital Maturity, ‘Cognitive Transformation’
3. Get buy-in from leaders
Achieving digital maturity should be an organization-wide effort, so if you plan to enhance this, you need to engage with leaders and get buy-in from them. Help organisational leaders understand the underlying advantages to addressing the question of digital maturity and what that means for the business at large, its customers and its staff. It won’t be easy to succeed with digital transformation without their commitment to the project, hence their buy in is critical.
The key ingredient here is to show your leaders that digital transformation is not just about spending more money on technology, but genuinely enabling the business to keep up with changing markets and growing further in to the future.
4. Start small before scaling initiatives
As much as you want to achieve digital maturity quickly, rushing the process can (and usually does) lead to more risks. To avoid problems, make sure to start small in your initiatives. Instead of going all out with your projects, pilot a small-scale implementation first to see what works, what you need to improve on, and what does not work at all. Then, you can adjust your efforts accordingly before scaling them organisation-wide.
5. Measure success
Tracking your digital maturity progress is critical to success. After implementing the initiatives you have planned out, you should monitor and measure them to see if they generate the desired results. This way, you can optimise and scale successful efforts and address gaps in your strategy.
Digital maturity matters now more than ever. With the market constantly evolving, it is no longer enough to stay put and hope for the best with traditional efforts. Continual growth, evolution and success demands that business owners and executives enhance their organisation’s digital maturity level. Digitally-mature businesses can adapt and respond to changes, are more resilient, and ultimately create more value.