Are you harnessing the full extent of digital in your organisation? (Credit: MakoGomez90)

Digital is not as binary as its name suggests. It is rarely absent from an organisation altogether and is never done.

IDG’s State of Digital Business Transformation 2018 reports that 89% of enterprises have plans to adopt or have already adopted a digital-first business strategy. More than half of these though either haven’t started to implement their strategy yet or don’t have one.

Another study by McKinsey reveals that only 8% of companies believe their current business model will remain economically viable through digitisation.

I firmly believe that every organisation can benefit from doing more with digital.

Although a large number of organisations have embarked on some form of digital transformation programme, 41% of senior leaders in a recent Celonis report believe their efforts have been “a waste of time”, citing poor planning, high costs and lack of organisation-wide involvement as top concerns.

The right mindset, strategy, resourcing and enterprise-wide engagement in digital can bring significant business value to any organisation.

Lloyds Banking Group’s Business and Charity Digital Index 2018 claims that UK SMEs could unlock £84.5bn by raising their digital maturity.

IDC forecasts that by 2022, 80% of enterprise revenue growth will depend directly on digital offerings and operations.

Furthermore, McKinsey reports that companies moving quickly in response to digital competition generate nearly twice the revenue growth of those playing it safe.

Isn’t it time you did more with digital?

There are 7 stages of embedding digital into any organisation:

Most organisations are behind the curve in digital and admit to being so. Some (thankfully a declining minority) say it doesn’t affect them. Some think they’re ahead in digital when they’re not. Few are genuinely positioned at the 7th stage of continual digital adoption, but even they can benefit in doing more.

What stage is your organisation in embedding digital? Read about the 7 stages below and take our 3 question survey to reveal your stage and what’s next for your organisation:

What stage is my organisation in embedding digital?


Stage 1: Digital denial

“We’re a face-to-face business, digital doesn’t affect us”

So how do you generate new clients or customers? How do you maintain a relationship with existing ones? Are you not at risk of losing market share or being disrupted by a more digital competitor?

Organisations at this stage have their head in the sand. They’re doing nothing or little in digital and don’t think it will affect them.

Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture, says:

Digital is the main reason half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000

Evidence suggests that every sector is affected by digital, every size of business, both B2C and B2B.

Getting to the next stage:

Business leaders at this stage need to first be convinced how digital affects them and what benefits it can bring, even if it’s in just one small area, before they can move to the next stage.

Rewrite Digital challenges every business who doesn’t think digital affects them to a 1-hour Digital Schmigital session. We’ll change your mind or the session is free. Register interest

Stage 2: Fragmented digital

Organisations at this stage are already doing a number of things in digital but it’s often fragmented or partially exploited. They may have simply dived into implementation without really understanding or prioritising what should be done.

A large proportion of organisations are at this stage. They may think they’re doing all they can in digital, or at least everything that matters.

Less digitally-savvy leadership may put their trust in people, teams or agencies who say they have digital covered but only really have the experience and foresight in one area of digital. For example, having a fantastic website but poor SEO or collecting lots of data but not doing much with it.

Getting to the next stage:

Business leaders don’t need to be digital experts but they need to know enough about the breadth of digital and how different areas are interconnected to understand how fragmentation can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

Rewrite Digital’s leadership training gives business owners and boards enough knowledge to understand where there are gaps in what they’re doing with digital, without getting bogged down in jargon. Learn more

Stage 3: Acknowledging digital gaps

Organisations at this stage already acknowledge the need to change what they’re doing in digital to be more holistic and forward thinking. This is the first step at unlocking inaction or stagnation.

In some cases this acknowledgement is only evident within certain departments or roles and not at board or leadership level. Senior leaders may be still at the previous stage and need convincing of the gaps and business case. Only then can they make the necessary changes to move the organisation on. This is no small task and can take time. Authoritative external parties can work alongside with internal advocates of digital to make change happen.

Once a commitment to change is made by a business, the questions then become ‘what’ and ‘how’. 42% of the C-suite executives said in the Celonis survey that they do not know where to start when developing their transformation strategy.

Internal teams and roles may be able to fulfil this but again, it’s often necessary to bring in additional expertise to either define the strategy, implement it or both. This isn’t about needing to recruit for everything in house or outsource everything either. It’s usually a balance between the two.

Getting to the next stage:

Ensure that leadership acknowledge digital gaps and have committed budgets to change. Establish a clear brief for additional resource if not existing already.

Rewrite Digital can help make the case to boards, assess what investment and resource is required and support with training, recruitment or outsourcing. Learn more

Stage 4: Resourced for digital

At this stage you have the right resource in place to at least define your strategy to harness the full extent of digital.

You may already have the necessary resources to implement that strategy too (in house or through agencies), but you should remain open to bringing in additional, specialist expertise or to scale teams to maintain a high level of digital maturity and effectiveness over time.

Getting to the next stage:

Audit what you’re currently doing across all aspects of digital and where the gaps and opportunities are to define a clear path forward.

Rewrite Digital can support your team with a holistic digital audit, providing you with an overall score for your current and projected digital maturity and effectiveness, a comparison score with key competitors and top priorities, recommendations and roadmap to bridge digital gaps. Learn more

Stage 5: Clear digital direction

Organisations at this stage have made a full assessment of the opportunities in digital and what their journey is to harness them. They’re not simply following a path skewed by one particular area of digital but the path that maximises the use of digital to yield the best results and ROI.

Once you have a clear direction and the right resources in place you can implement it.

Crucially, this strategy has to be not just defined but sold in to the leadership, with the necessary appetite and investment secured.

Getting to the next stage:

Business buy-in for the strategy and getting in place the right teams and skills to implement it.

Rewrite Digital can support the implementation of your strategy from securing board commitment to equipping you with the necessary training or recruitment of resources. Learn more

Stage 6: Digitally established

At this stage you have the right strategy and implementation resources to fully harness digital. You may have successfully transformed your business model, mastered the use of data and established delightful customer experiences.

Even if you’re doing everything perfectly in digital today, it’s not the time to say you’re ‘done’ with digital transformation. What you’re doing today might not be right in 6 months time. And if you’ve implemented a strategy that was defined 6+ months ago, how do you know it’s still fit for purpose?

Furthermore, as digital continues to rise, benchmarking what you’re doing by a fixed set of digital measures means you’re at risk of disruption.

Getting to the next stage:

Reassess your digital maturity and strategy at least quarterly and be agile enough to make changes accordingly.

Rewrite Digital conducts quarterly audits using a unique moving index that evolves as digital does. Learn more

Stage 7: Continual digital adoption

Digital and consumer expectations of it are continually rising. Your organisation can’t maintain a high level of digital maturity without responding to this. Organisations at Stage 7 are set up to do so. This means they’re continually testing with the market and monitoring their competitors and category as well as outside of it.

Maintaining this stage:

Rewrite Digital’s Futures Programme specifically targets organisations already at this mature stage, taking influence from other sectors and global examples from the bleeding edge of digital. Learn more

Digital is never done

Grow your digital maturity, whatever stage you’re at. Every organisation can benefit from doing more in digital and digital is never done.

Find your stage and what’s next for your organisation in just 3 questions:

What stage is my organisation in embedding digital?

This article was first published on LinkedIn.

Photo credits: Jeremy Keith, Henrik Bothe, Brandon Atkinson, Ealdgyth, Korall.