Digital maturity refers to an organization’s ability to respond and adapt to disruptive technological trends. Many would argue that digital maturity is more of a process than an end goal. It is not something that you achieve and mark off your to-do list.
Digital maturity is a continuous undertaking throughout an organization’s life cycle. After all, technology constantly evolves, and we have to adapt to these changes to remain competitive.
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There could be a misconception that digital maturity is only for large enterprises. Small businesses may have a hard time because they have fewer resources. Nevertheless, any organization, regardless of size, can work toward digital maturity.
Let’s consider the field of advertising and marketing as an example. For the longest time, marketers have relied on print advertising and TV ad spots to promote their products.
Then came the Internet and social media. Companies, big and small, are turning to online advertising and marketing. That way, these companies have become digitally mature.
To be clear, digital maturity is not directly proportional to the amount you invested in your business’s digital technology. A company, for example, can invest thousands of dollars in cutting-edge technology but if its employees refuse to use these because the tech is too complicated or does not add value, they are not really digitally mature.
Therefore, digital maturity does not merely refer to the use of technology in your business. It also includes your human resources. How ready are they to shift to a digital system? Are they savvy enough to learn new technologies and systems independently, or do they need extensive training?
It’s quite similar to a person’s maturity level. The person may have access to all the resources and connections needed to succeed. Still, if he or she isn’t mature enough, the resources will only go to waste.
Difference between Digital Maturity and Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is often used synonymously with digital maturity. But are they really the same?
Digital transformation happens when an organization undergoes a radical change in its digital systems. It may overhaul its workflows and shift from manual to completely digital operations. Ten years later, the same organization may again change workflows and use the latest digital technology.
As such, digital transformation could lead to digital maturity, but they are not the same.
Digital Maturity Assessment
Digital maturity assessment helps organizations determine where they are and formulate strategies to arrive at their desired maturity level. Several companies have come up with digital maturity assessment tools. And while there is no universally accepted assessment method, most of the tools come in the form of questionnaires that cover the following areas:
- Business strategy
- People and culture
- Operations and processes
- Customers and partners
After answering the questions, you can then evaluate which level you’re at, depending on your score. The levels depend on the digital maturity assessment tool you use. The Australian Government, for example, uses a five-level approach, with Level 1 (Minimal) translating to least mature and Level 5 (Transformed) as most mature.
Another example of a digital maturity assessment tool is by Axway, which uses the terms “Struggling,” “Reacting,” “Experimenting,” “Coasting,” and “Disrupting” to describe one’s maturity level.
Regardless of the terms used, digital maturity assessment helps determine where you are in your company’s digital journey. It helps you plan out strategies to become digitally mature.
Remember that even if your company scores high in your digital maturity assessment, your journey toward maturity does not end. There will always be new systems and technologies that will disrupt the market as we know it, and you have to be ready to adapt. That’s what digital maturity is all about.