Digital Maturity Begins in 2015

First posted on LinkedIn on December 27, 2014

Guiding the conversation

It seems that every single provider out there is pushing their own agenda on the things they all think we need to do to succeed in digital marketing for 2015. In fact, I find that these posts are just flooding the web with a bewildering amount of digital stuff. Truth be told, with only a few exceptions, I’ve yet to see anything truly meaningful that will point executives in the direction of what digital true north really looks like and few are guiding any kind of rational business conversation.

One thing I know without question however is that digital maturity matters, and it matters a lot!

2015 is going to be a tipping point for many industries and time is getting really short. But rather than resort to scare tactics, to my way of thinking it’s way more productive to set out a roadmap to digital success for people. Something that makes sense of all the digital chatter and noise. The overarching strategy is somewhat repeatable, but, the execution varies greatly from one vertical to another.

Becoming truly digitally mature absolutely has to begin now

Research from some very savvy digital leaders certainly does point to the fact that few businesses have positioned themselves to reap all the business benefits gaining a true digital advantage will provide and they find themselves behind the proverbial 8-ball. And I strongly suspect that it’s largely due to the tsunami of do this and do that rhetoric.

Why 2015 is a critical year for embarking on the path to digital maturity?

It’s pretty simple. Transformation takes time and effort. For SMBs it may take a couple to five years to transform. For Enterprises, it’ll take at least five and maybe more.

Among the few truly inspired leaders I’ve met over the last year is Frank Diana. Frank is currently leading the business evolution efforts for TCS Global Consulting with a focus on enabling the Enterprise of 2020. As I work on building solutions today, I follow what he has to say as a touchstone on where our solutions will need to scale over the next 5 years or so.

Digital DNA; a considerable gap to close

In a recent post, Frank has said, and I agree, “that perhaps the biggest indicator is the realization that future success is tied to Digital DNA – or those characteristics that enable companies to operate in a rapidly changing business environment. Internet Companies [like mine] and start-ups have the DNA advantage and the barriers for new market entrants continue to collapse. But most companies are traditional companies and have a considerable gap to close. To do this, enshrined organizational policies, practices, processes and structures that inhibit Digital DNA will change. When we look back, this structural change will be viewed as the catalyst that enabled next generation enterprises.

The underlying driver of all of these indicators is Digital, and it has massive implications for the Enterprise of 2020 and beyond. Companies must focus on the Digital DNA required for the Enterprise to succeed in 2020 [now]. The key premise that supports this focus is the one certainty that likely drives future executive agendas; that is, in 2020, companies of all sizes must exhibit these key characteristics:

  • Growth-oriented
  • Relationship-based
  • Flat
  • Emergent and resilient
  • Effective and efficient
  • Experiential
  • Insight and engagement driven
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative
  • Open, agile and collaborative
  • Responsive and adaptive
  • Fast, iterative and experimental
  • Powered by knowledge and Ideas
  • Powered by creativity and design”

So just how digitally mature are we anyway? Not very!

Just to give you an idea of where maturity lies in various industries for enterprise level businesses, even in high technology, 38% are still in the very early stages of digital transformation. In other verticals the numbers aren’t any better and have a really long road ahead:

% of businesses not prepared for the digital age:

  1. Banking 42%
  2. Insurance 34%
  3. Travel and hospitality 50%
  4. Telecoms 52%
  5. Retail 43%
  6. Consumer packaged goods 60%
  7. Utilities 40%
  8. Manufacturing 62%
  9. Pharmaceuticals 76%

So where do you begin?

First and foremost, forget about those that want to sell you something and find a digital transformation team that wants to partner with your business and is willing to put some skin in the game. Moreover, find a team that will be willing to work in tandem with other vendors in your offline channels and with your internal team to bring the very best solution to your business. And whatever you do, make sure they not only will elaborate a strategy with you, but that they’ll be there to execute for you and with you. You’re a team!

Then, start back at the beginning with your hub; your website. Make sure it’s:

Mobile ready

  • promote products and services
  • provide customer service
  • sell online

Optimized

  • can be easily found
  • sends proper social signals
  • is populated with customer relevant content

Socialized

  • manage your reputation
  • engage with clients and prospects
  • bring value to the conversation

Tracked

  • Analyze
  • Measure
  • Improve

Marketed

  • Inbound
  • Advertised
  • Remarketed

To give you a visual of how we approach things, here’s our roadmap to digital success. I hope you find it useful as you start the new year:


Digital Roadmap


In conclusion

Once you’ve embarked on the public facing journey, you can then begin to digitize your processes, integrate your data and supply chain and get all your internal stakeholders on board with your transformation.

While this piece can in no way be considered all encompassing, it at least shows your starting points and what you should absolutely tackle in 2015 so your entire business can be ready by 2020! And if you need us to be there with you, you can count on us. Feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions you may have.

Wishing you all a very prosperous 2015!

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