Clarifying the Value of Digital Maturity in Digital Strategy
Use of Maturity models in Digital Transformation
The use of maturity models as a benchmarking tool has been a common consulting practice, applied to help gauge a firm’s maturity in a discipline or domain. Such models provide a basis for a firm’s leadership to discuss company competitiveness and to help identify opportunities for improvement. They typically yield a report card useful in communicating the organization’s current state of capabilities relative to industry tested standards. This can be an effective way of creating a consistent understanding among executives and strategic planners to help normalize what might be inconsistent views and/or perceptions.
Sample Digital Maturity Report Card
The Digital Transformation space is no exception and it’s understandable why there is a demand for maturity assessments. Organizations have started their journey to digitizing their businesses in some way, shape, or form. With many digital initiatives running in parallel in different parts of the organization – often uncoordinated – executives are questioning whether investments being made in technology and related organizational change and/or culture programs are yielding the returns most needed by the business. Conversely, many would argue that any digital spend is worth it because, just like all other stages of maturity, there are usually ways that a firm can continue to grow and adapt to become more digitally mature and stay ahead of the curve.1
Challenges with Digital Maturity assessments
While this argument has some merit, for executives looking to define a cohesive Digital Strategy for their organization, difficult decisions must be made. “Which digital and organizational capabilities will have the most impact on our ability to compete in the marketplace?” is a question uppermost on any executive’s mind.
Unfortunately, Digital Maturity assessments fall short of identifying the capabilities a business needs to invest in now versus later. While Digital Maturity can help a firm benchmark their capabilities against similar firms in their industry and identify opportunities for making them better or investing in newer ones, there is still work that remains in prioritizing those opportunities against a firm’s most critical imperatives.2
An additional challenge is the immaturity of the Digital Transformation space itself. Speed of change is causing consulting firms in the space to add, expand and modify the dimensions of digital and organizational capabilities they evaluate. And a lack of proven methods and practices transferable across firms and industries require constant re-examination of digital maturity stages. Data collected as part of digital maturity assessments is becoming obsolete quickly in terms of their relevancy.
Making Digital Maturity assessments more effective
To help clients define a Digital Strategy that drives their organization transformation, recent industry benchmarks from credible sources must be complemented by an understanding of key initiatives and an uncovering of the prevailing wisdom within the organization. By studying characteristics of disparate innovation, digital, and transformational efforts already occurring in silos and by engaging leaders across the enterprise to find common interests, insights can be derived on what might seem otherwise raw outputs from Digital Maturity.
Key insights derived by complementing Digital Maturity report with other inputs from within the organization
Sound decision making protocols and a process of consensus building need to be executed with leaders of the organization, using quantitative and qualitative inputs from inside and outside the firm.
Therefore, any digital maturity exercise needs to be part of a larger effort to identify and prioritize the most critical organizational capabilities the firm needs to invest in over time.
After all, a good strategy not only finds opportunities, but it also eliminates some and deprioritizes others.