Article Synopsis :
Adapting to increasingly digital consumers and harnessing digital technologies to improve operations are top priorities for nearly every business. Yet, few companies appear to be making the fundamental changes necessary to achieve these goals.
“Achieving Digital Maturity: Adapting Your Company to a Changing World” from MIT Sloan and Deloitte Digital shares results of a survey of more than 3,500 managers and executives and 15 interviews with executives and thought leaders aiming to understand the traits of more ‘digitally mature’ organizations. Five key practices shake out from the data:
- Leaders think systemically in how they organize and develop workforces, spur workplace innovation, and cultivate digitally minded cultures and experiences. For example, more than 70% of respondents from digitally maturing companies say their organizations are increasingly organized around cross-functional teams versus only 28% of companies at early stages of digital development.
- Leaders play the long game. Strategic planning horizons are consistently longer than those of less digitally mature organizations, with nearly 30% looking out five years or more versus only 13% for the least digitally mature organizations. Their digital strategies focus on both technology and core business capabilities.
- Leaders scale small digital experiments into enterprise-wide initiatives that have business impact. Small “i” innovations or experiments typically lead to more big “I” innovations than at other organizations.
- Leaders become talent magnets. Digital talent insists on opportunities to develop digital skills. For example, vice president-level executives without sufficient digital opportunities are 15 times more likely to want to leave within a year. This goes well beyond traditional job training.
- Leaders have CxOs with the vision necessary to lead digital strategy and a willingness to commit resources to achieve it. Digital leaders define and articulate digital initiatives as core components to the larger business strategy, elevating them above technology one-offs.
Survey findings are organized in seven parts, as follows:
- Digital Maturity and the Long Game: Maturity goes far beyond simply implementing new technology. Digital maturity is a continuous and ongoing process of adaptation to a changing digital landscape, requiring long-term vision and commitment.
- What Sets Digitally Maturing Companies Apart: Digitally maturing companies are far more likely than other organizations – 76%of digitally maturing companies versus 32% of businesses at early stages of digital development – to use technology to conduct business in fundamentally different ways. For digitally maturing organizations, technology typically is not simply an add-on to existing processes and practices; it’s prompts more of a holistic re-think.
- A Digital Lens on Business Strategy: Strategy is the strongest differentiator of digitally maturing companies, which are more than four times as likely to have a clear and coherent digital strategy in place as early-stage companies – 80% of digitally maturing organizations versus 19% of companies at early stages of development. (A case study on MetLife is included.)
- Digital Innovation – More Than Just Experimentation: The vast majority of organizations across the digital maturity spectrum experiment with technology; successful experiments, however, don’t always yield enterprise-level impact. What often sets digitally maturing companies apart is their ability to scale digital experiments. (Funding models are discussed.)
- Organizing for Digital Maturity: Digitally maturing companies are far less likely than others to rely on hierarchical management structures to make decisions.
- Invest in Digital Talent – Use It or Lose It: Digitally maturing organizations are far more confident than others about having sufficient digital talent in their workforce. Developing talent needs to go far beyond training to create an environment where employees are eager to continuously learn, gain digital experiences, and grow. (A case study on CIGNA is included.)
- Do You Have the Will for Digital Transformation?: Digital maturity doesn’t develop accidentally, nor is it the result of a quick fix. Rather, digital maturity is achieved through commitment, investment, and leadership. Digitally maturing companies set realistic priorities, put their proverbial money where their mouth is, and commit to the hard work of making digital maturity happen.
Final “Words to the Wise”:
- Commit to and make digital a core part of your organization
- Determine the funding model and generate momentum from experiments to drive scale
- Cultivate a culture and an organizational structure that enables digital maturity
- Strive to make the organization a talent magnet
The report appendix contains the 52 survey questions and aggregate responses to same.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsOne of the more compelling findings of this survey, in our view, is that companies making the greatest progress with digital are planning the most substantive increases in their digital investments. About 75% of digitally maturing entities plan to increase digital spend over the next 12-18 months, versus early-stage companies, where the number drops below fifty percent.
Digital maturity is about capabilities, yes, but it’s also about agility and velocity. Digital leaders invest in initiatives that make them better from a product perspective, but they also invest to become faster operationally. Taken together, we’re talking about digital momentum, a key competitive advantage.
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