digital maturity

The Race for Digital Maturity: Where Do You Rank?

When it comes to digital maturity, the “race is on” as on Adobe report put it.

This metaphor is appropriate for today’s digital economy.

Today’s marketplace is a fast-paced race for digital maturity, digital transformation, and digital adoption.

The reason is simple – digital technology confers huge competitive advantages.

Understanding digital maturity can help an organization by:

  • Clarifying digital technology’s role in their business and their industry
  • Establishing clear, specific goals for digital transformation
  • Setting benchmarks that help them understand where they stand in the race for digital maturity

Below, we’ll explore digital maturity in detail – what it is, why it matters for your business, and how to stay ahead in the race.

From Digital Adoption to Digital Maturity

In Adobe’s 2017 Digital Marketing Study, they compared digital maturity to a race.

In that report, they defined a digital maturity model with four stages:

  • Non-existent – No technical capabilities, automation, or data silos
  • Emergent – Growing technical capability, automation, and data integration
  • Focused – Solid and expanding technical skills, automation, and some data integration
  • Advanced – Strong technical skills, automation, best practices, and data is mostly integrated

According to Adobe’s report, businesses were seeing more value in digital maturity:

  • 40% of businesses said digital maturity differentiated them from their competitors, versus 30% the year before
  • 38% were investing in all areas of digital maturity, also a 10% gain over the previous year
  • 24% self-reported advanced maturity, versus 11% the previous year

However, an interesting point to note about digital maturity is that it isn’t just focused on technical capability.

The Goal of Digital Transformation

The aim of the journey, according to Adobe’s report, is becoming an “experience business.”

That is, a business that puts customers first, provide an exceptional customer experience, and interact with them seamlessly across any channel.

However, different organizations have different aims, such as:

  • Becoming an “experience business”
  • Becoming a “digital-first business”
  • Digital maturity, digital transformation, or digital capacity

Regardless of the end goal, the way to reach that goal is the same: digital adoption.

Adobe’s framework for transformation provides a good approach for digital adoption and transformation, regardless of their end aim.

It consists of four steps:

  • Assess – That is, evaluate your digital maturity
  • Plan – Create a plan and begin aligning resources
  • Train – Implement your plan
  • Lead – Make organizational changes with the aim of becoming agile and digitally mature

Each of these steps is critical to effective digital adoption, the process that makes organizations more digitally mature.

Let’s find out what ingredients businesses need in order to design effective digital adoption programs.

The Core Elements Needed for Digital Adoption

To digitize successfully, Adobe identified four building blocks:

  • Structure – An infrastructure that integrates people, processes, and tools
  • People – Getting everyone on board for the transformation journey
  • Processes – Rethinking, optimizing, and streamlining business processes
  • Tools – Using data as a foundation for advancing technological maturity across the board

As we have seen, Adobe’s digital transformation processes are aimed at creating great customer experiences.

This is an important point – every business should define its end goal at the outset.

Then the company can design an adoption strategy that supports that goal.

In Adobe’s survey, for example, respondents aimed at becoming “experience businesses.”

Therefore, it is not surprising that most respondents focused on getting more customers and improving the customer experience:

  • 60-70% of respondents felt that customer acquisition was important to the success of their strategic capabilities
  • Around 6 out of 10 also emphasized mobile app engagement, customer intelligence, connected experience, and personalization, among other areas
  • Over the next 3 years, 93% felt the “whole customer view” would be somewhat or very important
  • Other priorities included audience reach, content marketing, and mobile web development

Respondents also emphasized the importance of analytics in their marketing efforts – including web analytics, social media analytics, and real-time analytics.

It stands to reason that these aims drove all of their digital adoption choices, such as:

  • Which technology to adopt
  • How to adopt it
  • Budgets and time frames

Among others.

Likewise, your own goal should guide the choices you make during your adoption journey.

Defining Your Own Goal for Digital Transformation, Adoption, and Maturity

Digital maturity must have a strategic goal – and that goal should not merely be “technical capacity.”

Technology for the sake of technology doesn’t help the business or its workers.

Digital adoption for the sake of it will help no one.

Before beginning your journey towards digital maturity, clarify your vision:

  • What type of business do you envision?
  • How can technology help you achieve that state?
  • What digital technology will you adopt?

Such questions can help you plot out your journey.

Regardless of your strategic aim – customer experience, digital adoption, or a digital-first business model – it is critical to understand digital maturity.

This concept can act as a framework and a roadmap in the years to come.

With it, your company can accurately assess its current capabilities.

More importantly, you can make progress towards a specific goal and pull ahead in the global race for digital maturity.

The Race for Digital Maturity: Where Do You Rank?
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