Evaluating digital readiness is a must. It helps businesses get an overview of the current status of the organisation and identifies any level of discourse.
Digitisation is top priority for businesses across the globe. However, where most companies flounder is in the rush to jump into the digitisation bandwagon without evaluating their preparedness.
Research suggests that only seven per cent of leading businesses exhibit a digital-first and dexterous mindset, wherein they can self-organise, create partnerships around new digital initiatives and hold significant experience and skills in digital technologies.
Evaluating digital readiness is a must. It helps businesses get an overview of the current status of the organisation and identifies any level of discourse. Digitisation is all about transforming capabilities across operations and customer experience, for which an agile approach is required. Organisations that can sustain both capability and agility are true digital organisations.
So how does any organisation evaluate itself on digital readiness?
Any business needs to answer the following questions in these four areas to evaluate itself :
Culture: Will digitisation empower its employees?
Technology: How will it use and adopt emerging technologies?
Organisation: How aligned is it to support digital strategy, governance, and execution?
Insights: How effectively can it use customer and business data to measure success and inform strategy?
One of the greatest challenges facing learning leaders today is successfully enabling the organisation’s shift to digital. See this infographic to know your organisation’s level of preparedness in addressing this challenge.
Once a business has positive answers to the above-mentioned questions, it’s time for it to delve deeper and further evaluate itself.
These are the 10 key questions, organisations need to ask themselves:
Depending on the answers to the above questions, businesses can slot themselves into four broad categories of digital preparedness, as follows:
1. Does our competitive strategy depend on digitisation?
2. Does digitisation enable a better and well-defined cross-functional collaboration?
3. Does the board or CXO approve of and back the digital strategy?
4. Does every employee understand how their performance is tied with corporate digital goals?
5. Do the vendor partners deliver value that enhances our digital competencies?
6. Do we have the right leaders to execute the digital strategy?
7. Do we have enough budget to invest in targeted digital education and training at all levels?
8. Do we have a flexible, iterative, and collaborative approach to technology development?
9. Does the business have clear and quantifiable goals for measuring the success of digital strategy?
10. Is the technology team measured by business outcomes and not just system up-time?
Sceptics: These companies have limited experience innovating or applying an outside-in approach to strategic planning. Their use of online sales channels is limited and they execute few digital marketing programmes. To adopt a more willing attitude towards digital adoption, such companies need to centralise their digital resources and at the same time, initiate a few path-finding projects to warm up their executives.
Adopters: Such businesses have more digital practice than the sceptics. They are willing to invest in the basic architecture required to fulfil their digital ambition. For this, adopters will need to get dirty with digital, which means they need to scale up their internal resources and limit their dependency on outsourced expertise.
Collaborators: These companies collaborate internally and externally to enable practice and innovation with digital. There is a strong coordination and regular communication between their marketing and IT teams. For these companies, the next level is to align skills and technology with the customer experience and master digital influence to drive sales.
Differentiators: These companies have a strong revenue growth and are heavily online focussed. The next growth opportunity for these digital experts is to perfectly eliminate the separation between the digital and physical worlds.
The strategy can then be framed, depending on the level of preparedness.
Heide Abelli, senior vice president, content product management, Skillsoft, is of the view that digital transformation enables an organisation to compete in the ever-changing digital economy, more effectively. Today, individuals, irrespective of the industry, are using advances, such as sophisticated data analytics, the Internet of Things, social media, smart embedded devices and a combination of new technologies and traditional technologies to change customer relationships, internal processes, business models and value propositions.
“This means that in a smart interconnected world, technical functions and traditional business functions need to join forces in new ways and organisations need to adopt new modes of operating,” she says. She further shares that companies that embrace digital transformation enjoy 16 per cent higher revenues, generate 26 per cent more profit and have 12 per cent greater market valuations. Still, however, less than half (46 per cent) of the companies are investing in skills to prepare the organisation for digital transformation.
“Clearly, L&D departments and HR functions have a lot of work ahead to ready their organisations for all the implications of digital transformation,” Abelli asserts.
Hence, it’s advisable to evaluate the business on digital preparedness and then take the plunge. A systematic self-assessment is a must. It establishes a long-term foundation for making investment decisions, and helps functions collaborate better, which is not only relevant for the company’s digital structures, but also for its product and service portfolio.