2nd March 2020
Knowing where your organisation is on its journey, and what steps to take next, can tip the balance in favour of successful outcomes. Peter Muchamore, Principal Consultant at Civica, looks at why, how and when to assess an organisation's digital maturity.
Digital transformation is an inescapable fact of life for enterprises and public-sector organisations alike. But it can be a daunting prospect. How do you choose between the array of technology solutions out there? How will you handle the organisational implications of change? And how will you enable the switch from a waterfall to an agile mindset?
Of course, digital transformation is rarely an end in itself. Organisations are looking for outcomes and improvements such as more efficient operations, new ways of doing business, better customer service, simplified interactions with suppliers and partners, or a more flexible and collaborative workforce.
In the public sector in particular, the drivers for digital transformation are clear. Strategic initiatives such as 'cloud first' and 'digital by default', and the active role of the Government Digital Service (GDS), leave no room for doubt that government sees digital transformation as the way forward.
What's critical, however, is to avoid jumping in with no idea of what you're getting yourself into. You need to know how ready your organisation is for digital, and how best to move forward on your transformation journey.
The value of a digital readiness assessment
A formalised assessment of your organisation's digital readiness (often also referred to as its digital preparedness or maturity) will help you avoid pitfalls such as investing in technology that's a poor fit, or making technology investments at the wrong time. The assessment should provide clarity on:
- Where you are now — your position on your digital journey
- The priorities and direction of travel needed to advance your digital transformation
- The projects and digital themes you need to develop in order to deliver that transformation.
To carry out the assessment, it's worth engaging with an independent, technology-agnostic provider. This will ensure an assessment against wider industry best practice and allow you to benefit from the most appropriate technology recommendations for your organisation.
The assessment doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out engagement; but it should probably include conversations with executive management, senior and mid-level management teams, and all the primary stakeholders so that the following areas are explored:
- Strategic focus of the organisation
- Citizen/customer insight
- Operating model
- Leadership and culture
The report you receive at the end of the assessment should position each of those areas on an agreed transformation maturity scale, so that you have a clear picture of which areas:
- Have issues
- Are stable
- Are already in transformation.
The report should also recommend steps that will allow you to progress each area to the next level of maturity on the scale.
Digital maturity: an ongoing process
Because transformation maturity goes through many phases, a digital readiness assessment can deliver value at any stage of your digital journey. You may find, for example, that a particular area lags behind others in terms of maturity. Or that despite reaching a high level of maturity across the board, a new technology, such as AI, becoming standard in your industry means you're under pressure to adopt it too, to avoid lagging behind.
In such cases, a digital readiness assessment will provide the insight and guidance you need to take the next step. Ideally, digital readiness will become a KPI, so that you keep monitoring the organisation's maturity level as it continues to transform.
Civica can provide a digital readiness assessment at any stage of your organisation's transformation journey. It will provide clarity about your level of digital preparedness and maturity; and support you as you develop and refine your digital strategy, principles and transformation roadmap. To find out more, please get in touch.