Digital maturity is the essential capability for every organisation
Article

Digital maturity is the essential capability for every organisation

Melvin Brand Flu
  • Melvin Brand Flu
  • Partner
Take aways
  • Digitising key customer touchpoints incrementally creates frictionless experience.
  • Digitally savvy executives are crucial to digital transformation.
  • Digital strategy builds on internal alignment, strong leadership and commitment.

An effective digital strategy requires focused attention on customer experience, aligned internal functions and strong leadership. However, the rollout of a digital strategy usually faces pressure from meeting short-term operational targets, insufficient commitment from the top management, and issues of incompatibility with existing internal functions. Therefore, a digital strategy is successful if it is fully backed by the board and is integrated across the entire organisation.

An effective digital strategy is more than digitising services or introducing apps. Becoming a digitally mature business or organisation is a daunting task. It is about embedding a new culture, new skills and roles within the organisation. It requires a strong focus on customer-facing activities and an integration with internal functions such as IT, operations, supply chain, customer support, human resources and finance.

Barriers to digital enablement

Organisations face these internal barriers when they try to be more digitally enabled:

  • It is difficult to justify the long-term benefits of digital investments amid pressure to reach short-term revenue targets.
  • There is a lack of commitment from the management who does not have a clear understanding of the Return On Investments (ROI) of digital initiatives.
  • Organisations are not ready for the changes to be brought about by the digital initiatives, such as the impact on legacy IT systems.

Strong leadership is key

Digital initiatives, just like any business initiative, need the strong backing from the senior management as well as the blessing from a corporate structure that is receptive to changes. A strong, forward-looking and versatile digital leadership is needed to manoeuvre internal challenges, especially for big organisations. Also, digital initiatives commissioned in isolation within an organisation are likely less visible, therefore less likely to be scaled up across the organisation.

The Digital Manager

Many organisations still don’t fully understand the potential of digital enablement. Any large-scale digital initiative, therefore, hinges on senior executives who understand and are comfortable with what digital transformation means for their future business and customers. This requires new skills and a new role – the Digital Manager.

In a survey of the top 100 firms, 82% of them said digitalisation would have a “huge impact” on their organisations over the next five years.

To be digitally mature

As many of your customers, suppliers and competitors are “going digital”, the question now is how to become digitally mature, not whether or when. Such transition, fortunately, becomes less intimidating when you focus on what customers really care about: a frictionless experience. By digitising key customer interactions and services, organisations can make incremental improvements that improve the overall customer experience, while reducing internal costs and system complexities.