Digital Maturity

28th July 2014

What practical use is the concept of digital maturity?

Digital maturity is a concept that any digital marketer will have encountered over recent months – either in those terms or another variant. The concept is seductive, with elegant steps showing an upward path to digital nirvana. But where is the actual value in these models and how do you set about applying them? After all, it’s only a matter of time before the term digital is dropped altogether.

Each company varies in their use of digital tools. It ranges from businesses still using a brochureware website to the other end of the scale with companies who use real-time data and predictive analytics to optimise lifetime customer value.

Moving along the scale may be easier with a model to guide you, but it requires that you are realistic about where you truly sit. If you can take that objective view then there are some compelling arguments to strive for digital maturity.

According to research by Capgemini, digitally mature companies are the leaders in their field. They capture and retain customers better than anyone else, and they construct customer journeys that keeps their customers close without overpowering them.

Those companies classed as having higher digital maturity can boast:

  • 26 per cent more profitability than their competitors
  • 12 per cent higher market valuation and enjoy 9 per cent more revenue
  • Over five times higher retention rate for customers

So with benefits like these, what’s holding companies back?

An Econsultancy research paper found that more than half of businesses asked said that legacy systems and processes were holding back their digital growth. Other barriers to digital maturity can include:

  • Organisational Culture: In a Sitecore study, 74 per cent of organisations stated senior management have a low involvement in digital initiatives. Getting buy-in is a big one! That is in your hands…
  • Recruiting the right people to deliver on digital goals is essential, and investment in top talent should be a top priority.
  • Sitecore, in partnership with Econsultancy, found that over 91 per cent of the survey respondents were at a low level of digital maturity and in the ‘attract’ phase, with some 64 per cent in the very first ‘initiate’ phase. 8 per cent were in the second ‘convert’ phase, but only 1 per cent were defined as being in the highly mature ‘advocate’ group.

Interestingly, as part of the assessment, Sitecore asked organisations to self-define where they thought they were in terms of digital maturity. 40 per cent of the organisations believed that they were in the second ‘convert’ phase of maturity, more than five times the actual number, and 12 per cent put themselves in the most mature group, compared to just 1 per cent in reality.

Being more aware of where your organisation sits right now is also helpful to improving your maturity. The gap in perception and reality as highlighted by Sitecore shows how misunderstood the real scope of digital adoption can be. Digital marketers can work to start closing this gap by really scrutinising what their business is doing, and how competitors are doing it better.

However statistically significant or otherwise an action might be, it’s always motivating to get unsolicited positive feedback from someone whose had an awesome experience with your brand.

These models provide useful structure for accelerating digital maturity, but are only as useful as you make them. The power to change for the better is in your hands, and it’s down to your company and stakeholders to get on board and make progress towards being a digitally mature business.

What’s important to understand is that digital maturity matters: to your customers, to your stakeholders and to your future no matter what industry you are in.

Using a framework like this is a useful way to think about your teams, measurement of digital, barriers and finding what works for you.

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