Let’s face it, the business world certainly loves its buzzwords, with a new term seeming to pop up hourly. Deep dive. Pain point. Big data. Ecosystem. While many of these buzzwords might elicit the occasional eye roll, some are extremely valid and useful in a business context.
Over the past couple of years, the term “digital maturity” has entered the business lexicon, but, unlike most buzzwords, everyone from business leaders and technologists, to eCommerce marketers, and digital innovators are showing this particular phrase a lot more respect, and taking it a lot more seriously. The reason? Striving for digital maturity just might be the single most important initiative that a company can undertake to remain competitive in an ever-expanding digital-first world.
Digital Maturity Defined
In simple terms, digital maturity refers to an organization’s ability to respond to technological trends and changes in a market, whether the organization has initiated those changes itself, or whether it has no control over them. It’s also important to understand that digital maturity isn’t an end goal. It’s not something you get to check off your to-do list. It’s a continuous undertaking throughout an organization’s life cycle.
It also has nothing to do with how much you’ve invested in your business’s digital technology. A company can spend thousands of dollars on the very latest technology but if its employees refuse to use it because it’s too complicated or doesn’t add value, they are not really digitally mature. Actually, it’s not all that different from an individual’s maturity. A person could have access to all of the resources and connections they need to be successful. Still, if they’re not mature enough to use those resources, they’ll only go to waste.
When you boil it down, digital maturity gauges a company’s ability to respond to change. The key element that enables a company to respond to that change?
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin
This single idea is the bedrock that supports the concept of digital maturity because the essence of a digitally mature company is being in a constant state of preparedness for change; change brought about by consumer behavior, technological innovation, or, in some instances by the company itself.
While being prepared is at the center of digital maturity, there are a number of other equally important things to keep in mind, whether you’ve already started your digital maturity journey or have yet to take that critical first step.
10 Digital Maturity Things to Remember
1. Speed Up – It’s not so much transformation that you should be focused on, but acceleration. The faster that you can prepare your company for the changes that are going to occur, the faster you gain a competitive advantage.
2. Get Your Tech Together – By having the right technology working together you can streamline workflows, improve productivity, and enable team members to work more efficiently.
3. Improve Your Customer Experience – By enhancing your customer experience you build customer loyalty, resulting in the likelihood of more purchases in the future which increases profitability.
4. Become More Efficient – Initiating digital maturity efforts will allow you to save money simply by getting rid of expensive legacy systems. You’ll also save time by integrating more efficient technology that’s easier to maintain.
5. Learn Your Levels – Overall, companies on their digital maturity journeys fall into four distinct levels of digital maturity: incidental, intentional, integrated, and optimized. Which level is your company at?
6. Enhance Customer Satisfaction – Using technology allows you to track and analyze customer behavior. The resulting data forms the basis of targeted campaigns that attract more customers.
7. Get More Agile – Digital maturity will enable you to respond to market and customer needs whenever necessary.
8. Put Your Company First – It’s all too easy to get wrapped up around what a specific piece of technology does. Don’t. Instead, focus on what that technology needs to accomplish for the company.
9. Improve Your Culture – Digital maturity can attract and retain talent. After all, technology has the capacity to improve the overall work experience which in turn, sets up existing and any future employees for success.
10. Just Start – Yes, the journey towards digital maturity can seem overwhelming. Don’t focus on that. Instead, focus on taking that first step. Remember, there’s no finish line to cross. Just the satisfaction that comes from knowing that your company will always be prepared for any changes that arise in the market.
Imagine Your Company All Grown Up
Becoming a digitally mature company isn’t optional. Rest assured, your competitors aren’t viewing it that way. Just think about what your company can look like in the not too distant future. All of your digital maturity activities are strategic, efficient, automatic, and coordinated. New technologies integrate flawlessly into existing systems and processes. Finally, your company is fully prepared and capable of adapting to any shifts in technology or markets. Sounds good, right? So, start.
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