As the digital age continues to change existing markets, organizations are transforming, evolving and redefining their strategies to adapt to new trends and market demands that are being driven by customer preferences.
Digital maturity relates to how organizations perform against disruptive technology and how they adhere to customer-centricity and digital innovation. Digital maturity offers critical information about data, turning it into meaningful information that is capable of creating new value and new experiences for customers, clients, and organizations.
Digital maturity is competency across culture, people, process and innovation, and it’s customer-centric. In order for organizations to reach digital maturity, they need to reach all competencies.
We have identified four categories of how organizations rank in terms of digital maturity:
- Laggards – Organizations that are “laggards” most likely fall victim to Digital Darwinism. There is no, or little, attempt to consider how digital solutions might benefit the organization and its customers. Leaders at these organizations are risk-averse and resistant to change, which perpetuates to the entire organization’s culture.
- Adopters – Those in the “adopter” level are successfully implementing technologies. But while technology adoption is met with good intent, their efforts are still undeveloped and are managed in silos by certain teams or departments. Often new technology added to the organization is based on specific projects or reactive to competitive threats. Programs and operations are organization-centric and owned by specific departments.
- Challengers – Companies in the “challenger” stage are developing and researching activities that support their journey to digital maturity but lack the required technology platforms. Challengers are using their efforts to show a valid business impact of their innovation, and the internal talent is taking ownership of the organization’s digital transformation.
- Transformers – Organizations in this category are most advanced in their digital maturity and they are considered leaders. All of their activities are fully streamlined, coordinated and proactive. Any new technology added to the organization is easily integrated into existing systems and processes. Customer-centricity has become a true component of company culture, leading to organizational innovation and economic impact.
The Role of Company Culture
Digitally mature organizations recognize and reward collaboration and cross-functional teams. Senior leaders need to spearhead a culture of innovation and customer-centricity and support continuous development & ideation.
This is not easy for a lot of companies, in fact, our survey participants tell us that the main bottleneck in digitally maturing is the lack of collaboration and a common culture. 41 percent of respondents reported that their biggest challenge is the current organizational culture.
It’s now widely understood that a digital transformation needs active CEO support throughout the journey. This top-down support, however, has to go beyond the C-Suite.
In an expansion of this topic, respondents of the Usabilla 2019 Digital Transformation survey were asked: “If improving digital experience programs was an executive priority in 2019, would that improve the overall digital maturity of the organization?” 82 percent of respondents agreed that this would improve the digital maturity of their organization.
Therefore management must make DCX an executive priority and align it with the corporate strategy to facilitate improvements, along with clear roles, responsibilities, and processes to migrate activities from traditional to digital channels.
Organizational Processes and Operations
Digital maturity of an organization is also measured in the maturity of their organizational process and operations. It accounts for the strategy that ultimately facilitates improvements of overall customer experience, but it also migrates activities from traditional to digital channels.
When asked to indicate the urgency of the following DX management strategies, 55 percent of senior leaders are looking to improve operational agility and modernizing policies and processes. The rapid technology shifts and changing market demands will continue to push companies to evolve and grow, making it critical for organizations to be more agile and revisit processes on an ongoing basis. That is why data on how different digital experiences are performing is essential for future planning. That is why the same research found that 51 percent of senior leaders prioritize integrating all digital channels with Business Intelligence tools or supporting integrations.
The Impact of People
To become truly digital, organizations are dependent on talent and specific skill-sets. Rather than finding new talent, companies are looking within; 45 percent of executives are creating training programs to modernize legacy skillsets and 36 percent are performing organizational and team restructuring.
Remember the process and people is what ultimately supports the technology. That is why eliminating silos creates collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Advanced organizations remove such silos between departments, functions, and KPIs, by creating cross-functional teams that are self-organized to execute projects that support long-term organizational visions.
Once digital skills & behaviors needed for different roles are identified, a training program needs to be developed to support and enable a longer-term transition into a digitally mature organization.
How Innovation Comes Into Play
In the age of Digital Darwinism, the biggest risk is not taking risks. Companies standing still are the ones that lose the most from digital disruption. Innovation requires a willingness to take a leap of faith, invest, learn and keep improving on what’s being done, but it’s also a willingness to fail, and an opportunity to learn and improve.
As technology and innovation advance, senior leaders will continue to focus on delivering next-generation digital customer experiences and empowering their employees with the relevant technologies and processes to drive business growth and remain competitive.
Thus, digitally maturing organizations in 2019 plan to invest $5 to $10 million towards experience technologies and programs (this includes training & hiring).
With serious financial commitments, senior leaders are looking into a mix of emerging technologies and changes in organizational practices to help them digitally mature.
Digital maturity actually involves a paradigm shift from an organization-centric strategy to one that focuses more on the customer. It’s a symbiotic mindset as customers become more digital so too must organizations engage with it. Justifying that digitization requires organizations to innovate, engage and provide extra value to the customer.
Simply adding digital tools on top of customer interactions is not sufficient. On their own, they do not take into account the customer perspective, and in some cases will add unwanted complexity to the business.
Senior leaders understand this and cite their biggest driver for undergoing a digital transformation is “evolving customer preferences.”
The top three drivers are:
- Meeting customer expectations in order to delight customers and drive value (73%)
- Addressing and resolving customer conflicts in a better way (56%)
- Developing an ongoing strategy toward improving omnichannel delivery (49%)
While customer expectations are the main driver for improving digital experience programs, respondents have described that it is “about survival and staying ahead of the competition.”
Moreover, these senior leaders are in agreement that the prioritization of DX programs will impact common organizational objectives.
The data indicate that senior-leaders now see the benefit of tying their continued improvements in digital customer experience directly to broader initiatives. This is what inspired them to implement such programs.
Customer-centricity helps organizations rise above the noise and clutter of competition. With digital disrupting the competitive landscape, the customer is the only route to success. A digitally-oriented customer-centric approach is what makes more digitally mature organization future-proof.
Remember digital maturity is an ongoing process. Technology shifts and advancements, new business models and changing market demands will continue to push companies to evolve and grow.
In order to proceed, leaders are investing in technologies and strategies that can better cater to the digitally savvy customer. As they strive to be digitally mature, senior leaders are improving the employee experience and developing their talent to be future-proof.
Corporate culture and departmental alignment are essential to advancing digital maturity. C-suite leaders must mandate this alignment and ingrain it into organizational DNA by empowering their employees with the necessary means.
The key to digital maturity is available for all to leverage. Organizations must simply listen to customers and use data to make decisions. When technology and customer behavior come together, organizations are both digitally savvy and customer-centric. Learn more about the trends in DCX from senior business leaders in our report, Digital Transformation: Age of the Digital Customer.