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Digital Maturity: A Question of Models or Constant Calibration?

You know the digital way of doing business has become de facto business method when every conversation is punctuated with the phrase ‘digital maturity’. Maturity models in multiple variants are appearing and it’s hard to speak about any facet of digital, whether cybersecurity, development or innovation without some reference to a position on the maturity curve.

While the arrival of maturity models is a sure sign that everyone is rolling up their sleeves, the availability of neat mapped-out flow charts and diagrams shouldn’t fool anyone that digital is a tick box kind of endeavour. This month BVEx is on hand to examine the notion of digital maturity and the different measures of digital effectiveness.

Forrester analyst group was early to market with its maturity model and there are a bunch of others to choose from, including Gartner Group, IDC and MIT Sloan. Meanwhile, DXC Technology embeds maturity assessment into all of its client partnerships, covering off cloud readiness, cyber maturity and customers’ disruption radar among other indicators.

Forrester serves as a useful benchmark because it acknowledges that digital maturity involves striking out into new territory and offers four quadrants to measure: Culture, Technology, Organization and Insights. Even this expansive quadrant seems to fall short of the task of assessing digital maturity, which brings the ability to be effective in end-to-end supply systems and ecosystems.

Interestingly, Forrester defines maturity by what it is not, paradoxically measurement. Its Maturity Model 4.0 introduced insights as an indicator, but retired measurement. “Users of our past models will note that this revision addresses how well companies leverage customer data to direct their strategy, not just if they can measure results.” 

Proving that Digital Maturity is wholly unlike rolling out a top-down, sequential method such as the PRINCE project management method, conversations with digital chiefs tend to dwell on the importance of culture and organization. A CIO of a global sporting event association talked recently about the need to ‘recalibrate’, which implies measuring something against a moving standard.

“Recalibration also means using a different set of metrics to measure consumer engagement and digital engagement. It’s no longer about our funding revenue or the mission of our organization – these are not enough. We have to recalibrate the way we think about our success and over last two years, dramatically changed its mindset from being internally focused to being consumer focused.”

Finding the equivalent of a yardstick to measure this ability to keep up with a moving target will be a tough call for any digital player, or services provider offering a handy maturity model. I’m confident the conversations over the coming month will touch on valuable maturity indicators such as the cloud-readiness, cyber resilience and other non-negotiable capabilities for the aspirational agile, digital player.

On BVEx we’re also hoping to hear stories about the new attitudes that nourish digital maturity and how these can be embedded across the enterprise.

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Helen Beckett

Author: Helen Beckett

Helen Beckett is the Community Manager of the Business Value Exchange. She has been a writer and editor for over 20 years and takes a particular interest in the challenges facing the CIO in today’s business climate.