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Digital Transformation Maturity

During my previous two articles, I discussed the drivers behind Digital Transformation as well as why workflow automation is the backbone of any Digital Transformation initiative. This final article explores the Digital Transformation maturation journey we commonly see with our clients and the value of getting to the highest stage of maturity your organization can achieve.

Getting to “Meets Expectations”

Most companies begin with Islands of Innovation – where departments individually devote resources to modernizing, often led by enthusiastic managers or a business unit head. The innovation often aims to improve specific pain points their team encounters within a workflow in their department.

This is a terrific (and common) first step within the journey and helps gain traction at the organization's roots to embrace change and modernization, but it does not help the overall customer experience.

You have likely experienced this before when trying to work with a phone or cable provider: you call one department, they redirect you to other groups, and each person you talk to needs to ask you to repeat your basic information. This is a telling sign that each department has their own technologies, leading to a very frustrating experience from a customer perspective.

Eventually, teams who begin building up their technical competency and experiencing valuable outcomes will start to smooth the interactions with other groups, creating Connected Islands. Initiatives become bolder. Executives may start to become involved. The teams sharing technologies or integrating with one another will recognize the strength in collaboration as their research, work, and shared insights contribute to business growth.

Unfortunately, from a business outcome perspective this may not feel much different from Islands of Innovation. The departments and functions that customers interact with that are yet to be optimized will still leave a feeling of a fractured, inconsistent, and poorly integrated business.

With time, the success of those smaller initiatives tends to lead to broader Synchronized / Operational changes across the organization, though often still led by coordinating business unit heads. In this stage, business and IT goals are aligned around the creation of digital products and experiences at the enterprise level, but not yet focused on the disruptive potential of digital initiatives.

Internal adoption is no longer a major concern; business people across the groups have seen the value of technology and how it makes their work easier and better. While there will always be a few voices reluctant to change, the improvements far outweigh the time spent learning new routines, and there is now a culture of suggesting improvements and embracing technology.

Governance becomes critical to continued success at this stage. The governance team comprises representatives from multiple groups, who contribute to a roadmap that plans for Digital Transformation ownership, efforts, and investments across the organization.

This stage represents a significant improvement for customers; at this point, the company provides a consistent experience. Dialing up that phone or cable company in the first example leads to being routed to the group with the correct specialty right away. Or, if you do need to be transferred, the next individual you speak to has all the context for the call instantly. Or, better still, a chat option is available on the website where you can get help without ever needing to pick up a phone.

From a customer experience perspective, this is the “meeting expectations when working with a modern company” level of digital transformation, but not blown away with useful and innovative products, services, and experiences.

The big step: Strategic Automation

Every stage until this one focuses on improving existing processes, experiences, and services; smoothing out the wrinkles that create hiccups for workers and customers, and increasing efficiency and quality. Albeit significant and morale-boosting, the changes are not typically revolutionary; the overall function of the process remains the same, but the steps in the process are improved.

Moving to Strategic Automation requires executives with opportunistic visions opened up through Digital Transformation initiatives incorporated within an overall business strategy. Businesses in this stage lean on the framework already in place with the earlier maturity levels to build core differentiators to stay ahead of competitors - building out entirely new processes and services.

Big, transformative ideas are pushed from the top down, pushing for higher levels of innovation and integration. Integrated, synergistic business and IT management disciplines continuously deliver digitally enabled product and service experiences. Often, these organizations switch to having a Chief Digital Officer who is an active executive team member involved in nearly every strategic initiative.

At this step, the business is a leader in its markets, providing world-class digital products, services, and experiences. Customers are often highly devoted, raving fans. The business sets the bar for products, services, and experiences for its industry.

The pinnacle of Digital Transformation, Digital Disruptor

As the Strategic enterprise becomes more confident and established, truly visionary CEOs can lead a company to the stage of Digital Disruptor. Disruptive organizations carve out new services, products, or experiences that fundamentally change their industry.

This aggressive disruption of the marketplace leverages new digital technologies and (often) new business models. The fuel for this fire is continuous customer feedback and ecosystem awareness, driving business innovation in ways that would not have been possible prior to the digital transformation of the company.

With their Digital Transformation prowess, the company remakes existing markets and advantageously creates new ones. The innovative and adaptive nature of a Digital Disruptor allows them to swiftly incorporate customer needs combined with the CEO’s groundbreaking vision, which creates a fast-moving target for competition.

The benefits of a First Class Digital Transformation partner.

A First Class Digital Transformation partner is experienced with guiding companies through this Digital Transformation journey, helping bypass pitfalls along the way, and offering services that support you no matter where you are on your path.

Most IT projects still underperform. Commodity partners do not think beyond the implementation, creating siloed systems that do not solve the real problem, are difficult to maintain, and block long-term progress in your Digital Transformation maturity goals.

By contrast, the right partner for you has deep expertise in their chosen technologies and staff with both technical and business acumen to anticipate the maintenance and growth needs for any implementation as it is being built. The outcome is a robust yet flexible customized technology that can be updated quickly, maintained easily, and extended elegantly to connect with other applications.

In addition to being a world-class implementer who runs successful projects that incorporate flexibility for future growth, Macedon Technologies is a partner who can elevate the conversation beyond the tactical weeds to tackle big conversations such as:

  • Where are we in our maturity now?

  • Where do we want to be?

  • What is the safest, fastest way to bridge that gap?

Macedon not only has technologies that accelerate your Digital Transformation roadmap, but we also work alongside you to build that program plan in a robust way that still gives you the flexibility you need for your journey. We incorporate change management, agile training, and quarterly reviews of your Digital Transformation progress, with concrete advice on how to support your organization as it evolves.

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