March 2019 | Point of View

How digital maturity drives business results

Greater digital maturity drives faster revenue growth and bigger profit margins—not the industry. That’s the primary finding of our research that surveyed more than 400 business leaders to assess their organizations’ digital maturity based on 16 business characteristics.

The survey results have profound implications for any business leader operating in a rapidly changing landscape where customers have taken the reins, predictive analytics have replaced historical reports, and every interaction creates and consumes data. In short: It’s a digital world—we’re just living in it.In our survey, executives frequently cited Amazon, Apple, and Google as the biggest threats. Organizations must achieve digital maturity if they hope not only to compete with those technology giants, but also to attain and sustain healthy and profitable growth.

Among the most digitally mature companies, we identified four characteristics that correlate most with financial performance.

1. Clear Vision and Dedicated Leadership

Two-thirds of respondents from very digitally mature organizations strongly agree that they have a clear digital vision; only 2% of digitally immature organizations said the same. 

2. Engaged Employees Who are Intrinsically Motivated

73% of very digitally mature organizations strongly agree that their employees are engaged and intrinsically motivated; 10% of digitally immature organizations said the same.

3. An Ability to Leverage Data for Insights

More than 4 in 5 respondents from very digitally mature organizations strongly agree their organization is highly adept at leveraging data for insights, predictive outcomes, and business growth; only 2% of digitally immature organizations could say that.

4. Digital Interactions are Convenient and Effortless

70% of digitally mature organizations strongly agree that their customer service division ensures that customers’ digital interactions are convenient, effortless, and enjoyable; only 2% of digitally immature organizations said the same. 

The survey findings provide a valuable roadmap. For leaders, it’s important to resist the impulse to fast-track maturity by attempting to implement all 16 characteristics at once.

Instead, the least digitally mature organizations should start by aligning behind a digital vision. And they should focus on using digital capabilities to improve their existing products and services in ways that align with customer usage and feedback.

Moderately digitally mature organizations can often move up the maturity scale by re-organizing their marketing and sales operations around the customer— enabling them to respond to shifting customer needs—and by focusing on increasing customer engagement.

For more digitally mature organizations, the biggest payoff may come from working to build a corporate culture that values data, so the whole team can move from intuitive to empirical decision-making. The next step is to begin using advanced data analytics, including artificial intelligence, to predict customer needs, desires, and behaviors.

It’s easy to understand how digital impacts our daily lives—booking a flight on your phone, paying for groceries on a mobile app. Understanding how it impacts every part of a business—and developing and executing a vision to adapt to technological change— is far more challenging.

But given that digital maturity is, by every measure, highly correlated with both revenue and profitability, it’s a challenge that no business leader can afford to ignore. 

Discover our survey findings here, or find out how digitally mature your organization is by taking our 3-minute interactive quiz!  

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