Digital Maturity and Transformation

Richard Sage

Digital Maturity & Transformation

There are many articles/posts that have been written about Digital transformation. Often these feel as if they are trying to impart some secret sauce or recipe that will enable an organisation to succeed at Digital Transformation. However, these often miss a key point.

Just as William Gibson said, “The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed”, similarly every organisation is already at a different stage on the journey toward Digital Maturity. Each organisation has a unique blueprint and context that means you cannot simply apply a checklist, recipe or copy what another organisation is doing and achieve successful transformation. Journey is the key word here, and as with any journey you need to start from an understanding of where you are to inform where you want to get to and how to get there.

When starting a Digital transformation journey, it is crucial to know where you are starting as the next steps that your organisation needs to take will vary on their existing maturity and context.

At Mosaic Island, we find an assessment of Digital maturity is an important first step for organisations thinking about Digital transformation. Our Digital Maturity Assessment identifies areas of challenge and opportunity, of relative strength and weakness and provides your organisation with clear areas of focus and improvement

This post is the 1st in a series of about the value of understanding your organisation’s Digital Maturity when undertaking Digital business transformation, including what it is, how to measure it and how an understanding of your organisation’s Digital maturity is key to successful Digital initiatives.

 

What is Digital?

Before we start to discuss Digital maturity, its worth taking a moment to define what Digital actually is. Ex-GDSer Tom loosemore’s definition, is probably the best and most succinct definition of what Digital is:

“Applying the culture, practices, processes & technologies of the Internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations.” Tom Loosemore

Whilst this high-level definition is a good starting point it still introduces concepts (Culture, Practice, Process, Technology, Expectations) that need further definition, as it stands 100 people could agree with this definition and you might still get 100 different answers as to what Digital is in practice.

In the rest of this post we will go into a bit more detail as to what, at Mosaic Island, we believe Digital is as a pre-cursor to starting to discuss Digital maturity in the forthcoming blog posts.

 

Raised Expectations

Customer expectations are raised by their (and their peer’s) interactions with exemplar Digital organisations. Customer experiences are now easily shared, on both global and hyper-local scale, every interaction with a customer is now an opportunity for public customer advocacy or admonishment. This phenomenon is not limited to your organisation’s customers, the same is true within your organisation, the same forces at play that increase customer expectations influence your colleagues. If you can’t meet or exceed the expectations of your colleagues how do you expect your colleagues to meet or exceed the expectations of your customers?

There are some common features of the ‘raised expectations’ of people:

Immediacy, the expectation for immediate response, feedback and satisfaction from achieving their desired outcome from an interaction with your organisation. This is not say say all customers expect immediate gratification from any interaction with your organisation’s products and services, what it does mean is that immediacy is now the benchmark against which your product or service will be judged. If your customer cannot understand a valid, logical reason for a delay in achieving satisfaction then you will not meet their expectations.

Ease, the expectation that the journey for the customer to achieve satisfaction is a frictionless as possible.

Valuable personalisation, the expectation that the organisation understands the individual customer and tailors product/service delivery based on that understanding.

Dynamic customer journeys, the expectation that the organisation has done the hard work of designing flexible support to deliver against customer needs that may require divergence from the organisation’s view of the optimal journey.

Each of these features of a raised expectations have implications for how Digital organisations strategize, organize, design and deliver.

 

Culture

Digital organisations have recognized that the raised expectations of customers and colleagues necessarily drives the need for a different type of culture. The culture of a Digital organisation optimises for:

Experimentation and learning, Digital organisations recognise that in order to be agile and responsive to their customers and marketplace they need to experiment and learn as quickly as possible. This requires a culture that accepts failure as part of the learning process and that adopts practices that speed up the feedback loop from idea to success/failure.

Openness and collaboration, Digital organisations understand that the design, delivery and improvement of a service is best delivered by diverse multi-disciplinary teams, working in the open, together. Digital organisations remove physical, digital, organisational and cultural barriers to openness and collaboration.

Trust and empowerment, Digital organisations realize that optimising for organisational agility and learning depends on optimising decision making, this means pushing decision making as close to the source of problems, challenges and opportunities as possible. Decentralizing and democratizing decision making is predicated on a culture that promotes trust, responsibility and empowerment within its organisation.

 

Practices

The ability for an organisation to respond to people’s raised expectations depends on it adjusting its working practices to focus on understanding user need and learning through experimentation.

User need, Digital organisations develop their capabilities and working practices to ensure they understand user need and use that understanding to design and improve their products and services.

Iteration, Digital organisations adopt practices (e.g. Agile, Service Design) that bake in iteration, feedback and learning into the design, delivery and improvement of products and services

Multi-disciplinary teams, Digital organisations understand that teams do not equal ‘people with the same skills as me’. Digital organisations adopt working practices that are centred around enabling the coming together and collaboration of experts in multiple disciplines to design, deliver and improve the organisation’s products and services.

 

Process

Automation to optimise personal impact, internal and customer processes are automated, but not as an end in itself. Automation is used as a tool to free up resources and colleagues to maximise the value and impact of personal interactions between colleagues and customers.

Adaptable and Emergent, Digital organisations accept that any current process is only the current best iteration of that process that has been discovered and that as the organisation experiments and learns, new, better versions of the process will be discovered. With this in mind current processes are only viewed as the current prototype of a process, the final iteration of which may never be achieved.

 

Technology

In the context of our definition of Digital, the role of technology is in enabling Digital organisations to meet or exceed the raised expectations of its customers and colleagues through supporting the necessary cultural, practice and process changes.

The implications for those responsible for a Digital organisation’s technology landscape is that it they will need to have answers to the following questions:

  • How does your organisation’s technology enable the creation and use of insight?
  • How does your organisation’s technology enable the capture and management of user need and surfacing of personalization through your customer journeys?
  • How does your organisation’s technology enable experimentation and learning?
  • How does your organisation’s technology enable automation in order to optimise personal impact?
  • How does your organisation’s technology enable collaboration across team and organisational siloes and inter organisational boundaries?
  • How does your organisations technology deliver accessible, timely and accurate data and information to its customers and colleagues

 

Conclusion

In this post we have explored what Digital is and what its high level implications are for organisations. In the next post, having discussed what Digital is, we will discuss what Digital Maturity is, how we might measure organisations and what parameters are significant in determining Digital Maturity.

At Mosaic Island we have used our experience in delivering Digital Business Transformation across industries, to develop a Digital Maturity Model and Assessment. Designed to ensure you are doing the right things.

If you are looking to take your Digital shift to the next level, then this could be for you. Please email enquiries@mosaicisland.co.uk for more information.