Mapping Your Digital Transformation Journey- Stages of Digital Maturity
As the leader of a digital transformation strategy, you kickstart the digital transformation journey with a solid plan. But rarely do things go as you expect.
Hiccups and roadblocks catch leaders off guard and make them feel like they are constantly recalibrating their goals. At times, leaders feel lost and disoriented and need to evaluate how far they have reached in the journey.
Digital leaders need to be able to connect with others and evaluate how far they’ve come and where the next checkpoint is.
Levels along the digital transformation path
An effective way to map progress is to have goals that rate your organization’s level of digital transformation. With these signposts, you know how fast you are progressing towards your goal. As you clear each level, you can take up new approaches and advanced practices to move to the next level.
Level 1 – Digitally Active
In the first level, most of what you are doing is dealing with legacy systems. You are surrounded by a lot of outdated software that demands obedience to its systems and protocols. Many such applications are more of a hindrance than a help, and are nearly impossible to bring up to speed with the rest of the company. You might be looking for improved functionality, or adopting a cloud-based approach, but your focus is on modernizing your systems.
Most of the drive out of this level comes from customer expectations. The existing applications miserably fail to keep up with what customers want and business heads grow tired of hearing, “That’s not possible.”
Your aim is to digitally transform outdated systems to ensure that your business stays at par with others in your industry. At this level, you modernize and revamp most of the customer-facing applications.
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Signs you may be in level 1:
- Your focus is on bringing all of your legacy systems up to date
- The drive to transform is driven by meeting customers expectations
- Focus on individual department solutions
- You are plugging holes and gaps
Level 2 – Digitally Engaged
When you finally knock the dust off all the old systems, you start to see a need for an overarching strategic plan that focuses on development for the entire organization instead of just for projects or departments. Rather than just focus on the needs of individual departments, you see how this all will work together.
Leaders at this stage realize the need for an event-centric architecture for all customer-facing platforms. At the same time, leaders start taking into consideration the need for digitizing internal operations. Along with customer experience, employee experience is also added to the digital transformation goal.
This is a revolutionary stage in the digital transformation journey. The end-goal becomes very clear. The goal is no longer transforming systems that do not work but, to transform the way the organization functions to enable it to reach its full potential. The focus slowly shifts to automating processes and making human work more efficient.
Signs you may be in level 2:
- Start thinking about interlinking internal processes
- Start investing in automation of standard processes
- Collecting employee feedback about how to improve things
- Start making company-wide plans
Level 3 – Digitally Competitive
This is the first level of true digital maturity. The basic infrastructure is in place, now it’s time to really start getting the benefit of a digital-first mindset?
Digital transformation is primarily reactive in nature — initiatives taken to meet customer expectations. Digital maturity focuses on businesses being proactive — initiatives taken to exceed customer expectations as well as enhance employee experience. A digitally maturing business is one that achieves success by increasing collaboration, scaling innovation, and revamping their approach to talent.
Boosting the digital maturity of your business allows you to be in a better position to achieve more significant results and future-proof your organization in an era where the digital environment is prone to constant and unpredictable changes.
Signs you may be in stage 3:
- Driven by the employee experience
- Build interworking processes and projects between departments
- Push towards moving to customer delight
- A shift from app-based to platform-based thinking
- Introduce a platform for the entire company to manage internal operations
Level 4 – Digitally Mature
This is the stage where your organization becomes a standard-setter for digital transformation in the industry. You start to change the rules of the game. Your teams are at a stage where they are able to anticipate the needs of clients and ready to exceed expectations.
There is a digital culture that is inclusive of all teams. Conversations flow naturally whether it is happening online or offline. You have a completely digital workplace that offers team members everything they need to collaborate and manage their work.
Automated workflows ensure that nothing gets lost in the chaos. Teams stop throwing things over the wall and a clear chain of ownership exists throughout the lifespan of every task as well as every project. All of your employees feel equally important and valued. They have fun while working collaboratively.
Signs you may be in stage 4:
- You ace at customer and employee experience both
- You have a collaborative digital culture
- Your digital workplace boosts productivity and innovation
- Other businesses look up to you as a trend-setter
Riding the winds of change
Wherever you are in your digital transformation journey, constant digital change is necessary. Technology is rapidly evolving and markets are constantly adapting and shifting. A digitally mature organization might not stay that way always if it stops transforming. Even if your company has not reached full digital maturity, you can begin to build a foundation that will equip you to support digital transformation and start taking steps towards it.
Keep your eyes up and stay focused on how you can reach the next level by taking greater advantage of your digital transformation.