What Is Digital Maturity and How Can Your Business Achieve It?

11 May 2020

While New Zealand is beginning to reopen after the destructive impact of COVID-19, the pandemic has led many business owners to evaluate how they’ll run their organisations in the aftermath. Today, most businesses have embraced at least some level of digital transformation. To succeed, however, you need to reach digital maturity.

What Is Digital Maturity?

‘Digital maturity’ is tricky to define; no one seems to have a single definition. However, we feel comfortable explaining it in this way: Digital maturity is the measurement of how mature your digital capabilities are.

These capabilities don’t just include the technology you use. It’s about your team. Do your employees feel comfortable with digital processes? How digital are your processes? Are they mostly digital, or is there room for improvement?

What Digital Maturity Is Not

Digital maturity isn’t about how much technology you have, or how cutting-edge it is. It’s not about how much you’ve invested in technology, either. If you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a new system, yet your employees don’t use it because it’s too complicated, you’re not digitally mature.

What’s the Connection between Digital Maturity and Digital Transformation?

Digital maturity and digital transformation are not the same things, but they are closely connected.

Digital transformation is the process of radically changing your workflows and operations with digital technologies. Your ability to undertake a digital transformation is related to how digitally mature you are; if you’re using mostly manual processes, it will be a long journey toward a digital transformation.

Why Is Digital Maturity Important?

There are three reasons why digital maturity is more important than ever before:

  • The world has changed.
  • Businesses need greater efficiency.
  • Sustainability is paramount.

The World Has Changed

Today, we hold more computing power in the palm of our hands than was found in desktop computers 35 years ago. We can connect to people across the world. As a result, our expectations as consumers and as employees have changed.

We expect that the companies with which we do business have a digital presence and that they’ll make the customer experience seamless and enjoyable. Those presumptions have carried over to our work lives; we want the companies we work for to use today’s technologies to make collaboration and communication easier so we can get more done.

Businesses Need Greater Efficiency

Another reason to enhance your digital maturity levels, as well as to undergo a digital transformation, is to become more efficient.

When you increase your digital maturity, you shift away from error-ridden manual processes, and toward digital processes that have higher levels of accuracy. You no longer have to worry that someone has entered data incorrectly, or that you’re missing a file because it’s sitting on someone else’s desk. Collaboration and communication are faster and more effective.

Sustainability Is Paramount

We could talk about how high levels of digital maturity offer a competitive edge, but in a few years, digital maturity won’t be something that will set you apart; it will be something that you’ll have to do because you’ll need it to survive.

Shifting toward being a digital business is about ensuring your relevance long into the future. Your level of digital maturity is directly related to your longevity in the marketplace. The more digitally mature you are, the better you’ll be able to meet customers’ needs, and the longer you’ll last.

How Can You Achieve Greater Digital Maturity?

There are five steps to achieving greater digital maturity:

  • Assess your current digital maturity
  • Get buy-in from leadership
  • Reconsider your organisational structure
  • Develop a digital transformation strategy
  • Start small

Assess Your Current Digital Maturity

The first step in achieving greater digital maturity is to assess your current digital maturity levels. To start off, ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Have you purposefully and efficiently integrated new technologies into your organisation, and do they help achieve business results?
  • What digital tactics do you have in place?
  • Are those tactics giving you a strategic advantage over the competition?

Get Buy-In from Leadership

Enhancing your digital maturity requires buy-in from the highest echelons of your firm’s leadership.

Digital transformation and digital maturity demand a change in strategic direction, so the C-suite must be deeply involved for this to work. A digital transformation isn’t just about throwing money at a problem; it’s about investing time, money, and resources toward an initiative that allows you to thrive well into the future.

Reconsider Your Organisational Structure

Before you develop a digital transformation strategy, you need to make sure that your organisation’s structure is ready to become more digitally mature.

What does that mean? Digitally mature firms aren’t hedged in by hierarchies. There are cross-functional teams, lots of collaboration, and a high tolerance for risk.

Develop a Digital Transformation Strategy

Enhancing your digital transformation and launching a digital transformation means you have to put a digital transformation strategy in place.

What makes a strong, successful digital transformation strategy? It involves looking forward into the future and determining where digital technologies would make the biggest impact. For example, would implementing AI increase your responsiveness to customers? What insights would you gain with business intelligence?

Start Small

Your biggest chance for success lies in small projects. Don’t try to tackle something huge when launching a digital transformation; smaller projects are more manageable.

What’s important to remember is that the small project should offer lessons on how to tackle a bigger project. Don’t choose a small project for the sake of an easy win.

Enlighten Designs: Helping Organisations Increase Digital Maturity

Since 1998, Enlighten Designs has helped our clients have amazing digital experiences. We’re a proud Microsoft partner, too. We’ve achieved Gold status in the categories of Application Development, Data Platform, and Data Analytics. To learn more about enhancing your digital maturity, contact us today.

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