Digital maturity
Why digital maturity is a better term than digital transformation
7 May, 2021 by
Digital maturity

You have probably heard of digital transformation. It is a somewhat hyped term to say that your company should digitalize. I actually prefer the term digital maturity. In this blog, I will explain why. Learn how digital maturity will help you along your path of digitalization.

Let's go virtual!

Digitalising essentially means making physical things virtual. This can be your products, your processes - even your office, as we have seen during the Covid pandemic. Video conferencing and other collaboration tools have virtualized the office. The Covid pandemic acts as a catalyst for digitalization. Many companies were already working on their digital strategy, but the execution speed has increased. McKinsey even estimated that digitalization is sped up by seven years on average due to Covid. 

Take a moment to think about what digital transformation looks like for your organization. 

Your first steps in this world are similar to your first steps in digitalization

While digital transformation is a widely used term, it isn't constructive. The term transformation implies a one-time transition - like from a caterpillar to a butterfly. However, it doesn't quite work that way in reality. There is no one-time transformation to a future-proof, state-of-the-art all-digital organization. Instead, it involves many small steps. Taking small steps towards greater digital maturity is likely more successful than a big-bang strategy. Transformation seems more like a journey than a single event. A journey that constantly adds new chapters as the world around us is continually developing.

So I prefer the term digital maturity rather than digital transformation. Your organization's steps towards greater digital maturity are pretty similar to a child growing up.

When you are new to this world, lots of things are going on in your environment. It isn't easy to make sense of all of the things going on around you. Interaction is difficult. You can cry if you are hungry, if you have pain, or if you are sleepy. Crying is the one tool you have to interact with your environment. An organization in its digital infancy might have lots of data, but it cannot make sense of it yet. Customers, processes, etc., are treated in the same way. We try to make sense of our environment by using gut feel and protocols. 

You never stop learning and developing

As you grow up, you learn to speak, you learn gestures, you can start to move around, and your interaction with your environment improves. You go to school and learn more about life and your surroundings. An organization's digital maturity develops similarly. You start using technology for marketing, do more analytics to understand what is happening and why it is happening. Once your awareness widens and you get better with the digital tools, new opportunities arise, and your understanding develops. 

You are always learning and developingGrowing older happens every day. It takes almost no effort. Often we don't have a clear direction of where we want to go in life. Most teenagers don't know what they will become. It just gradually unfolds once they grow up. That doesn't seem much like a transformation. It is more of a journey. Over time it makes a huge difference. Just look at a photo from 10 years ago, and you will see how much you have changed. However, a portrait from yesterday generally is not different from one of today.

The same principle applies to organizations. Small steps in reaching digital maturity are unnoticeable at first. Over time, there will be an apparent change once the organization persists. Digital adoption is not overnight. Also, it doesn't occur in all parts of the organization at the same time. It is best to find a business domain where the next digitization level seems a small step away and expand from there.

Successful digital transformation takes a lifetime. Even when we have become adolescents, our journey doesn't stop. New technologies emerge, and we continue to develop. We need to constantly adapt to our environment, learn new digital skills, gain unique insight, drive innovation, and competitive advantage. We can only expand our business if we keep on developing. 

The term "transformation" feels like an inadequate term to describe the journey of becoming a more digitized and data-driven company. 

Digital maturity may start with management, but ultimately, the whole organization needs to achieve operational excellence. It requires change from everyone in the organization. 

Strategy is essential, but the execution is ultimately determining digitalization successes.

New technology is constantly emerging, leading to a new chapter in your digital maturity. A digital maturity model allows you to understand better where you are regarding your digital capability and what your next step should be. 

BrainStax could do a digital maturity assessment and help you define your digital strategy. The digital initiative in your organization should be developed into digital disruption. We will identify critical areas where you can create an advantage. We will involve all stakeholders to think of a way to integrate data into your daily operations seamlessly. 

Successful digital transformation is not solely a matter of hiring some data scientists. Data and digitalization involve team play. Management of digitalization is vital. We see from experience that 80% of the models developed by data scientists never reach the production stage. By making better choices upfront, we can lower that percentage to 30%. Imagine what that would do for your company!

Digital maturity
Admin 7 May, 2021
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