There is no magic elixir that can be diluted into your company water cooler to foster a more digital mature culture for the organization. That being said, it is important everyone be metaphorically drinking the digital Kool-Aid. The second post in our series on Digital Maturity will highlight some of the essential ingredients that seem to be found in digitally mature organizations. Once again, these are not the only factors, but seem to be some of the most influential.
Digital Leadership From The Top
We all can’t be Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Marissa Mayer. But it is critical that digital strategy be part of C-Suite conversation. The value of digital strategy across the organization needs definition at the top level (i.e. how can digital strategy support corporate objectives). In order for an organization to become digitally mature, it must become part of the cultural ethos and its value operationalized. Digital must be seen more than just another a department or budget line item.
Digital Leadership From The Middle
Conventional wisdom suggests that the most successful organizations are led from the top down; and with that, singular great leaders with a clear vision tend to produce the type of organizational culture that breeds success. While that may be true from a corporate vision and goal standpoint, it’s just as critical that the digital vision come from within the organization at the operational management level. Senior executives today may not fully appreciate the impact of digital as a business driver in our fast moving, and constantly evolving space. Ensure that the department leads (beyond Marketing and IT) have a digital vision and plan developed. Ideally, that not only meets the department goals, but those goals ladders up to the C-Suite corporate objectives.
The result of digital leadership coming from top and the middle begins to foster another important element of digital maturity; developing the digital DNA as part of the overarching intent of the organization’s future state. The aim here is to create a collective corporate attitude and behavior platform that infuses digital strategy into all aspects of the organization (Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, Operations, HR, Legal and of course IT). Unfortunately, in many digitally staid organizations, IT has inherited many aspects of the digital roadmap that simply don’t fit nicely into their remit – these are not simply technology infrastructure decisions. While this may have worked in the past, the digital strategy roadmap must now be developed by the collective interest of all departments across all levels of the organization.
The common phrase of “follow the money” can be applied when defining how embedded digital strategy is within and across an organization. Companies that recognize the role of digital beyond the IT department will typically provide all department heads the ability to budget for digital initiatives that align with their own business objectives. Once only the domain of IT or Marketing, digitally mature organizations balance budgets across the company with many digital projects funded through a blend of Sales and Marketing, and capital expenditure investments. This means budgets need to be allocated for short and long-term initiatives, for each department, for brand building, customer development, and operational efficiencies like recruitment.
Digital Roadmap Documentation
A final key driver for digitally mature organizations is having a planning model for digital strategy and the documentation of that plan. If it is not written down, it does not exist. Mapping out the digital roadmap of your organization, whether from a product development, operations management, customer service or marketing perspective (ideally including all views) will ensure that the future state of your business will be supported with a clear and sustainable digital strategy. One place to start is the Business Model Canvas – a simple tool used by organizations like GE, MasterCard, and Deloitte, that helps to visualize the business model and consider where digital strategy may fit into the mix. This is Post 3 of 6 in our Digital Maturity series, as we look to provide insight into an organization's ability to leverage digital to drive business strategy. If your company is beginning to explore the digital roadmap ahead, reach out to us to see how we can help.