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Six Stepping Stones to Digital Maturity
What is digital maturity anyway?

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

We talk a lot about digital transformation, the drive to bring legacy systems into new and more contemporary usage channels and the need to push mobile, cloud, social and more to the fore today.

Industry buzz-phrases and marketing-speak are easy to paste around in this area and too much has already been written that simply seeks to:

  1. Restate the obvious
  2. Pay lip service to some pre-loaded consultancy service that lays in wait
  3. Coin some newly spun term to try and gain ownership of this space

Okay we will stop the naysaying there; suffice it to say that there is too much padding around this topic and a dearth of direct discussion.

What firms need to see is action.

If we look at what Capgemini has done by pulling all its most vital digital assets and technology competences under the umbrella positioning of a new so-called ‘Digital Customer Experience' service line, then perhaps we can appreciate how major the task is if it is to be done right.

As a major consulting player, Capgemini reminds us that what it calls "digitally mature" companies have significantly better business performance.

At the same time, companies often encounter difficulties with leveraging digital technologies to better serve their customers' expectations.

What is digital maturity anyway?

Industry blogger Mike Dolan came up with a nice six-point stepping stone plan to describe what digital maturity might actually mean.

As you can see from the cute graphic, the six stepping-stones are actions a company takes to:

  1. Initiate - the architectural and infrastructural basics to start bringing in new digital layers including everything from a CMS to a more sophisticated web presence to electronic fulfilment and ordering systems, etc.
  2. Radiate - is obviously the point at which digitization starts to spread out across the business and show itself across a number of multi-layered digital channels
  3. Optimize - optimization comes hand in hand with personalization and the point at which we start to tune the digital installations more accurately to individuals and the workflows they find themselves within
  4. Nurture - nurturing is fine tuning, but it is also the point at which firms start to work out the best fit available and achievable for the digital solutions in hand
  5. Engage - engagement could very arguably have been earlier than number five in our list as the need to garner buy-in and community involvement at all levels if the new digital is to be a profitable success
  6. Predict - this is the point where digital business starts to sing in harmony, i.e., the digitization program starts to bear fruits at all levels and also offers data that can be fed into an appropriate analytics engine to further predict what digital updates are needed next.

If we follow Dolan's template, can we ensure a profitable path to digital maturity? It's not likely to be quite that cut and dried, but there is structure worth following here.

About Adrian Bridgwater
Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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