Companies with high digital maturity are the ones that have fared better during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason: They are in a position to operate remotely and depend less on face-to-face interactions.
Since this reality is not yet experienced by all market players, some management teams feel the effects of decrease in demand. However, others have seen a good increase in demand, because people have started to search for more digital products and services and are willing to use them — a behavior that tends to remain.
In some countries, such as Estonia, even the government does almost everything digitally. Thus, even with the pandemic, the maintenance of economic activity was much greater, and they practically did not stop due to their high level of digital maturity. This is why one should learn more about it, wouldn’t you agree? Then check out what we can share about it.
What is digital maturity?
Almost everyone has a friend who shies away from using new technologies yet gets excited about the online world, such as using social media.
In that case, we cannot say that they have not yet incorporated technologies into their life — they are partially digital already. But they are limited to a few tools and channels, and they often need help. There is still much for them to learn to achieve digital maturity.
In the market, it is the same thing: Digital maturity is attributed to companies that have entered the digital age. They have appropriate technology tools, automated processes and procedures, and integration and domain in data use. And, at the same time, they have developed the capabilities they need to get the most out of all of this.
Native digital companies often evolve much more easily in this context. That does not mean that a traditional company cannot develop well digitally. But it can be quite challenging to promote digital maturity, which makes it difficult to spread a new culture.
Learn about the digital maturity index
The digital maturity index is a descriptive method that enables you to classify the evolution level of a company. There are five stages of the process:
At least one digital solution was implemented, for instance an online scheduling platform, but it does not impact the overall structure. That is, only one specific process or procedure was automated to achieve productivity gains — even if partially.
For example, imagine a bank that offers services, such as 24/7 ATMs and online banking. Although it has implemented digital services, the gain may be limited to the increase in productivity generated by self-service. This does not mean that the screens are as user friendly as they could be, or even that there is a real goal to improve the user experience.
In the second stage, the company begins with some actions in innovation management and already promotes a more systemic internal change. In other words, digitization is more comprehensive, and the need to invest in its ripening has been acknowledged.
Going back to the bank example, imagine now that the productivity gain achieved from the first stage has reduced the pressure on employees, who have been able to observe more details, instead of being concerned only with operational activities.
They are starting to adopt a more strategic look, and this enables them to realize what they can enhance. Therefore, the new systems operate in a more integrated way, and data that was not available before is being considered.
At this stage, the team already works more naturally with technology and applies it strategically. In addition to operational gains, such as increased productivity, they use technology to deliver a higher value to the customer as a differential experience.
Now, the employees of our imaginary bank already understand a little better how customers take advantage of new features. Therefore, they hire the development of an experience-oriented design, in addition to seeking point solutions for flaws that the previous data pointed out.
Satisfaction surveys and closer contact to some customers enable the company to work through each detail and at each point of contact with system users. Thus, it is now possible to deliver a better experience, which is acknowledged by the consumer as an added value to the service.
This stage completes the maturity cycle in adaptation. Companies in this group no longer separate technology from other activities and are no longer able to operate without the adopted technologies. Integration is complete and monitoring is thorough.
At this point, the bank employees don’t remember how life was before the technology. They understand that the technological resources they now use are an integral part of the service provided by a financial institution.
They can’t accept the system being down, nor a customer waiting in the queue, and they don’t think consumers need many clicks to finalize a payment.
At the most mature stage, a company incorporated innovation management and learned to use it to develop a continuous process of change. It has several new projects in progress, which form a permanent system of innovation, creating space for a multitude of opportunities.
Our example bank continued to evolve and became a reference in innovation. So it developed a program to accelerate financial technology, and will now be able to find even more innovative solutions.
What is the advantage, and why should I make my company digitally mature?
The first and most significant advantage is to be able to adapt to a reality that is inevitable. Without maturing, companies will become increasingly obsolete and less competitive, so it is not an option, but a necessity.
In brands that interact with young audiences, this adjustment is even more important, because customer satisfaction depends on the complete adoption of new technologies. For example, those that were born with a cell phone in their hand are distressed when they need to enter a notary to stamp a paper.
On top of that, digitizing the customer’s journey improves their experience in a way that no company can do without digital maturity. Not only does it deliver new features, but it brings together detailed data about everything that occurs at each stage of the customer’s journey.
Much of digital maturity is about how companies use the data to generate a higher value to the customer. This information enables a better understanding of their problems and needs and, therefore, the development of equally better solutions. This approach helps humanize technology, while early-maturity companies take advantage of the operational gains it offers.
How can technology help the transformation process?
Technological innovations help companies even when they cannot use their full potential — and the gains realized are often exponential.
Imagine, for example, a first-stage company that adopts a service platform only to use some automation features. This represents 20% of the functionality of the tool.
As a result, the customer experience doesn’t change much, and the people who used to do the work that is now automated have more free time. Therefore, they can now develop more strategic activities, rather than repetitive tasks that are now automated, which increases profit. Additionally, strategic focus and time savings are used in favor of maturing.
After this initial phase, technology can be applied in an integrated manner, which enhances synergy between teams. This is when the company starts to work as a large production machine for ever more efficient, beneficial, and attractive solutions.
Thus, we can conclude by stating that technology is the means and tool that enables the construction of digital maturity. When it is applied with a focus on innovation, it ensures a reputation of a modern and engaged brand that improves people’s lives.