Don't Ignore The Buzzword: Laying A Digitally Mature Foundation for Brands

I’ve personally seen the mobile app industry evolve significantly over the past 10 years. It looks something like this:

mobile-app-timeline

We went from, “what can this application do for us?” to “how is our organization using digital across the entire business (and not just the technology teams)?”

It all starts with becoming digitally mature. We define digital maturity as two things:

  1. The organization's ability to recognize the impact of Digital on their operations
  2. The organization's ability to reshape the company’s entire operations to revolve around Digital opportunities.

Digital mature companies can react faster to changes in the market, regardless of the type of change.

So, how do you assess your organization to determine your level of digital maturity, and then build a roadmap to achieve maturation?

There is no one right way to do it. Here is a simple model we use for assessing digital maturity:

vokal-digital-maturity-model

Technology drives business growth, but only if the business is digitally mature across the organization. The technology team alone cannot drive growth. There are no “killer apps,” but instead there are agile organizations that have embraced a digital-first mentality.

1. Assess Your Digital Maturity

Using our digital maturity model as a framework, here is how we would assess a traditional pizza delivery retailer.

  1. Level 0 (Legacy)
    • Order pizza through telephone or in-person.
  2. Level 1 (Basic Digital)
    • Orders pizza from website/app/digital partner like Yelp.
  3. Level 2 (Semi-Automated & Personalized)
    • Send personalized coupons based on ordering history and other data.
    • A/B test digital applications to optimize deals, pricing, and menu items.
    • Order capability from an Alexa device, “Alexa, order my favorite pizza.”
  4. Level 3 (Fully Automated & Personalized)
    • Send notification to the consumer prompting them to order their favorite pizza right at that moment and get an 80% acceptance rate.

Once you define your benchmarks, the team can start assessing where they are on the digital maturity chart.

When we do assessments, we do assessments for key functions within the company, not just the department responsible for technology. We combine all of the assessments into one to assess your organization's digital maturity.

Are you completely manual or are you a mixture of basic digital and advanced? What would happen if you went full digital? Would revenues increase? Would you take up market share?

Being able to simply visualize your digital maturity and assess where your organization fits in can be the foundation for a massive change within the organization.

2. Outline and Prioritize Opportunities To Document A Clear Strategy

In my retail example, you can prioritize many things, such as:

  1. Increased waiting times at a physical location
    • How can we decrease waiting times?
    • How can we make the waiting experience more enjoyable?
  2. Personalization for repeat consumers
    • How can we predict what the consumer wants instead of them telling us?
    • How can we combine physical and digital orders to have a better data set?
  3. Increase orders done through digital
    • How can we test different experiments to uncover buyer trends?
    • How can we improve the average amount per order?
    • How can we improve how often a consumer orders through us?
  4. Improved delivery times
    • How can we get our food to our consumers faster, without sacrificing quality?

First, outline every single opportunity available, then prioritize them. In this example, it could turn out that making pizza available to more consumers that aren’t close to a physical location is the highest priority. This decision will then inform the overall strategy, technology decisions, operations, etc.

The next step is to build a digital roadmap that tackles the approach to maximize every opportunity.

3. Build a Roadmap That Considers The Entire Organization, Not Just The Technology Team

Digital maturity is an orchestration of strategy, not individual efforts. When building a roadmap, you must consider the entire cross-functional organization. Each department needs to map out how a new potential strategy can change their roles, and how they should act accordingly.

Prior to implementing a digital maturity model, departments would make decisions in silos. Technology would make decisions regardless of marketing and operations. Now, all decisions have to be made and executed together.

Questions each function would ask itself would be similar to this:

digital-maturity-questions

To accomplish the above, this needs cross-functional support from technology, operations, strategy and individual retail locations. And it’s not just about answering the questions, it’s about taking the answers and turning them into actionable steps to transform the business.

Assess your digital maturity, document and prioritize opportunities, and build an 18 month roadmap to execute.

It’s All About The Long Game

Organizations have to grow up, whether they have the appetite for it or not. And in the digital world, you never are done growing.

Becoming digital mature is a decision that will impact you three to five years from now, not tomorrow. Digital maturity is all about being prepared to make a change instantly as opposed to not having the ability to make a decision when the market changes around them. Every organization, whether they know it or not, is competing on the digital playing field, so they better equip themselves properly.

So, you can delay transforming your organization from becoming digitally mature without any recognizable impact. But, when the market does change around you, and you’re looking to move quick, an organization that isn’t digital mature will struggle and your business will suffer because of it.

Here’s the deal. People are going to resist the change regardless of what you call it. It can be called a digital transformation or “Next Level 2022”, people are going to ask questions.

But, it has to be done.

Start with a digital maturity assessment for the entire organization and plant the seed that digital maturity is the key to thriving and not barely surviving.

We work zealously alongside companies to spot opportunities to increase digital competition. What can we achieve together?