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Digital maturity no longer leads to competitive advantage. Now it’s table stakes for surviving in a digital-first marketplace. In this post, we explore why digital maturity is so important before sharing our five steps to improving your digital capabilities.

What is digital maturity?

Say ‘haberdashery’ ten times. Pretty soon the word loses all meaning. Something similar has happened to ‘digital maturity.’ Business leaders have spoken so much about this concept that the definition has become garbled. 

While there are many definitions out there, they all point to the same idea — that digitally mature companies embrace digital strategies to meet their business goals. As your company is run by people, your digital maturity is also a measure of how capable and comfortable your teams are with your digital processes.   

Why digital maturity is so important

Digitally mature companies earn more. As this Deloitte study unpacks, they also enjoy greater efficiency, customer satisfaction and employee engagement, with clear refinements to their products and services. How can digital maturity do so much? Because digital technologies improve what your business can do and how easily it’s done.

Previously, achieving high digital maturity gave you a competitive edge. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed that by speeding up digital technology adoption by up to ten years — according to this McKinsey report. As more McKinsey research shows, growing your digital maturity is no longer about beating your competitors. Digital maturity is becoming the minimum requirement for surviving in the new digital-first marketplace.

5 steps to improving your digital maturity

We’ve developed a systematic, five-step approach to improving your digital maturity. Let’s dive into them. 

1. Assess your current digital maturity level 

How digitally capable is your business? Answering this question is the first step to improving your digital maturity. On a more granular level, you can measure your maturity by asking — 

  • Have new technologies been integrated into my business?

  • What digital tactics and strategies have I implemented?

  • Are my digital strategies helping me beat the competition?    

  • How do my digital strategies refine customer experience?

  • Are my teams empowered to make the most of our digital technologies?

While all departments can benefit from digital innovation, it can be a monumental challenge to assess the digital maturity level when you have so many moving parts. To help, we’ve compiled a digital maturity roadmap to guide your process.

2. Get buy-in from key stakeholders 

Digital transformation projects fail when organisational leaders aren’t committed to improving digital maturity. To win over your stakeholders, you need to show them how digital innovation benefits their departments. We’ve unpacked many of these benefits in our post on achieving digital maturity with your stakeholders.

For your sales team, this can include using digital tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to collect and analyse prospect data. These results can be used to personalise sales messaging to better address prospects and their unique challenges. 

3. Develop a short-term and long-term digital maturity strategy

You can imagine your digital capabilities as sitting on a spectrum. On one end, you have companies who use digital-only out of necessity. At the other end, you’ll find digital disruptors who provide world-class digital experiences. To progress along the spectrum, you should develop a set of short-term strategies that can help you achieve more ambitious long-term strategies. 

Picture a company that uses digital tools only when needed. Because they aren’t digitally mature, they’re unable to optimise their processes, boost productivity, and improve their income. But they’re in luck. They’ve hired Techno Tim, a new CTO to push for digital innovation.

Tim’s long-term strategy is to plug all of his departments into one software platform so that he can gain a 360-degree view of how the company performs. To reach his vision, Tim develops short-term strategies that include researching and then choosing software that fits his business context. The then organises staff training so that employees are confident using the new system. Once everyone is working in the system, Tim might then set a new long-term strategy, like leveraging his digital solution to promote efficiency by a certain percentage. 

4. Start small before scaling your digital initiatives 

Minimise your risk by piloting small digital projects before scaling them to enterprise-wide level initiatives. That way you can figure out what works and what doesn’t under a manageable environment. 

Let’s return to the example of Techno Tim. He wants to add chatbots to his company’s website to help potential customers navigate their product offerings. Before implementing site-wide chatbots, Tim experiments with only using chatbots on select product pages. He then carefully monitors how prospects interact with the chatbots, paying special attention to user frustrations. With this data in hand, he updates the chatbot’s responses to better address customer needs.

When his chatbots are finally added to the whole website, Tim can guarantee that they enhance customer experience.

5. Measure success and optimise your processes

What should your stakeholders be doing to drive digital maturity? How have your digital initiatives been performing? How is your progress towards achieving your long and short-term strategies? 

Tracking your digital maturity growth is critical in evaluating how successful your efforts have been. By reassessing your shortfalls, you can rework your strategies. And by optimising your processes, you can compound your successes.

Improving your digital maturity

Growing your digital maturity has become a necessity within the new digital-first marketplace. But digital maturity is about the journey, not the destination. That’s because staying on the cutting-edge means constantly reassessing your digital toolset — and adopting new digital technologies, strategies and processes when need be. 

To kickstart your digital maturity journey, download our free digital roadmap for business success.

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