Digital Evolution: The Four-Stage Theory of Digital Transformation

Letting the digital seep through every process (ranging from designing products to marketing) is one of the top priorities for every organization today. Digitally capacitating an organization is a gradual and evolutionary process; that is, it occurs in stages with each stage representing a certain mark of development. Remember that traveling the road – developing your digital capacities daily is more important than rushing to the destination- forcing a full-fledged digitization quickly.

Here are the four stages that an organization generally undergoes while walking toward digital maturity.

Digital Infancy: Reaction

Recognize that your organization needs to make changes to empower itself digitally. The first digital maturity to-do list will be made at this stage. At this phase, you will encounter pending tasks that will need to be listed and taken into consideration. These include a website revamping, a brand new marketing campaign, and syncing the customer support system with a knowledge store. The only aim at this stage is to recognize the changes that need to take place and identify the digital capacities you already have.

Here is the to-do list for this stage:

Conduct an audit of the current CMS (Content Management System).

Some important questions to include in the audit.

  • Who leads the content creation team?
  • Who will review and approve the content?
  • Where will the content be placed?
  • Who is the target audience?

 List the company priorities.

  • What is the mission of the company?
  • Who is our audience?
  • What is the goal of this digital maturity?
  • What is the timeline for company development as a whole?
  • How will you measure the success of digitization?

 Evaluate the current technical infrastructure.

  • Who owns the technologies?
  • Who uses these tools?
  • What is the type and amount of content they store?
  • How are the technologies connected?

The answer to these questions will be the first baby steps into digital maturity and will lay the foundation for the shift. Get hold of the relevant technologies to fulfill the goals. Remove any unneeded tools. Let every department know and be trained in the tools they should be using. Integrate the tools within a system to allow constant content flow between the departments and within the system. Allot a team to take care of setting up this system and get it running. Keep an eye on the mission of your company and goals and make sure you sync every step with this.

Digital Childhood: Strategy

This is the time when you will be developing capacities to be used throughout the journey. Begin by creating customer personas and designing customer journeys. Make sure you correspond to different types of content for varying stages of the journey. Remember that every department offers content that could be used by the customers. Thus, the digital strategy has to spread across the organization and not simply one department.

Here is the to-do list for this stage:

  • Bring a buy-in through the top. Involve the top-level executives in the digitizing process.
  • Create a team to take care of cross-organizational digitization. They will be handling content strategy within Communications, Sales, Customer Support, Marketing, Customer Service, and IT. Every department will have its own needs and they must be well-represented within the team.
  • Let the team develop customer personas and declare the customer journey for each of these personas. You could begin by forming the journey in stages and eventually integrate to get a panoramic view.
  • Once the stages have been mapped, you will have an idea of where the content is used and what it contains. You will be able to list the people from each department involved in content development. Also, collect the list of people who manage the content channels and discuss the ways to better reach out to the target audience.

Till now, you have learned to build experiences that will fit into the customer experience and to take account of the already available resources. With the above two steps, you should have gained the foundational skills for moving into the pre-maturity stage.

Digital Adolescence: Synthesis

At this stage, you will be carrying digital onto the unexplored territories of your company. This is possible only when the minimal condition of digital strategy is fulfilled.

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • How can the sales program benefit from a digital strategy?
  • In what other ways can your strategy enter the customer journey to create a holistic digital experience?
  • How do you integrate the CRM data into the process?
  • Can commerce be connected to the process?
  • Is it possible to set up a customer portal?

Make sure there is a common digital dashboard for every department where organizational content is shared. Every department will put up the content they create within this database for ease of sharing and uniformity.

Digital Maturity: Optimization

The above three stages ensure that digital is a common mode within your organization. The fourth and final stage of optimization is an endless learning program where you continually create new channels and cater to them with new methods and functionalities.

As technology evolves, you will have to sync the movement with your digital strategy and make changes. Make sure you recognize the limitations of the current strategy and plan the changes. It is ideal if a team keeps monitoring the recent tools and informs the need for an update of digital strategy. The best format to observe and evaluate the current strategy and practice is to maintain a periodic review sheet.

Evolution was a million-year process. We have managed to bring it digitally under countable numbers. Trust the process and don’t miss any stage. Strengthen your bones (through stages 1 and 2) before you put them into the war of digitals (competition with giants, ambitious company goals, etc.). Check out our articles on digital transformation.

What are your strategies to leap into the digital endpoint of maturity? Share your thoughts with us.

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