27 June 2019

How to (objectively) assess your digital transformation

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There was a time, not long ago, that there was a need to distinguish between “marketing” and “digital marketing”. You needed to specify if your budget, focus, and people were working with billboard and magazine advertising, handing out flyers, hosting live events, and counting the customers that walked through your doors (marketing)--or with email campaigns, social media, data analysis, and measuring online behavior (digital marketing). Now, we understand that marketing is digital marketing. It’s understood that even if your customers visit your physical store, they are online, and your company must be too. Not to mention the huge advantages to leveraging digital opportunities.

It can be argued that we’re at this point with more than marketing efforts. The strategy of a company is synonymous with their digital strategy; their maturity is their digital maturity. Customers, communication, and business are all found online; to not include the digital channels, behaviors, and opportunities available in your strategy and evaluations is to ignore potentially the most important part of your business. Not acknowledging this is like stepping aside to let your competitors pass.

Once this mentality has been accepted, the first step is to assess your company’s current level of digital transformation. Of course, the rules of the digital game are different. There are more options, different regulations, and a lot to learn. It can be a daunting task even to understand where to begin evaluating.

How to measure your digital maturity

Remember to include the many different aspects of your business when calculating the digital maturity of your company. After you review the different areas below, reference the master checklist to get a global sense of where you are strong, and where you still have opportunities to advance.

The human resources

Starting with human resources can help to clearly see some of the specific uses already happening in your company. Consider the way digital technologies and processes are utilized, based on the organization’s global objectives and business model. Are digital resources being well taken advantage of? Are digital solutions being applied to human resources actions such as management, recruitment, communication, and inclusion? Also, look into the individuals making it happen. Does management have digital expertise or recieve training? What training is provided for team members? Is digital a priority in their work initiatives?

Culture and leadership

Consider the implications of digital on your organization’s objectives, structure, and strategy. To be innovative and flexible, this requires a culture that attitude, behaviour, and processes have to reflect the right conditions. These conditions are set both by the organization as well as by the employees, and are usually the hardest to change. Ask what is your style of work? Is digital leadership in place? Does your organization foster digital thinking and flexibility?

Tech and data

This is probably the first, and maybe only type of digital maturity that is typically considered. While it is really just one part of digital transformation, it is extremely important. Take a look at your current and planned digital initiatives. How is data used and stored--and protected? How are your website and digital content being managed and analyzed, and are you using the right tools? Assess the tools and processes used for external and internal communication and collaboration. Are there guidelines and regulations for the use of these technologies?

Client relations

It’s crucial to consider how you are relating with your client digitally. This can mean having a marketing plan (or a “digital marketing” plan, if it needs specification), including using the right social media channels to connect with your clients, creating and taking advantage of digital content, and measuring performance. How is content planned, created, stored, and evaluated? Is user experience considered? How are you managing and analyzing client relations? What about your brand reputation and awareness?

Online business

Whether your most important touch points are online or not, there are countless opportunities to take advantage of doing business online. How effectively are your online transactions? This goes well beyond setting up an online store. What about digital distribution channels, or other financial or non-financial exchanges? Have you made efforts to have a strong omnichannel presence? How is performance measured?

When calculating your company’s digital maturity, use the master checklist for an overall evaluation, then focus on developing where needed. Many companies use the help of external experts who are specialized in different areas of digital to advance quickly. Along with knowledge and experience, they bring fresh eyes and objectivity to your operation. Once you have begun the process of improvement, it’s important to regularly re-evaluate. Digital opportunities, as well as customer expectations are evolving constantly, but doing this regular checkup can help keep your business ahead.