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The Pitfalls of a Digital Maturity Assessment

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that things can only get better” – Stephen King. This is also accurate for your organizations digital transformation efforts, especially since in times of COVID-19 digitalization has switched from a “nice to have” for many organizations to a necessity to survive. So how does one start?

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that things can only get better” – Stephen King. This is also accurate for your organizations digital transformation efforts, especially since in times of COVID-19 digitalization has switched from a “nice to have” for many organizations to a necessity to survive. So how does one start?

We at Detecon believe that a structured, holistic Digital Maturity Assessment is the ideal starting point for your organization’s digital transformation journey. After the assessment is concluded, the necessary and individual measures for a successful transformation journey are defined, aligned and forged into a neat looking action plan. If the organization sticks to the plan, it should be set for the future, right? What could possibly go wrong?

As you might have guessed, it is not always that easy. Digital transformation initiatives bear certain risks that – compared to any other business initiatives – are unique. Disruptions from existing competition or new market entrants using digital technology can threaten the right to exist of even the most established organization. Transforming an organization’s existing business model to match new market requirements can be challenging, as former strengths may become irrelevant. Subsequently, what seemed like the perfect plan yesterday, might appear outdated today. What does this mean for the roadmap that we have just laid out together?

As an organization, you cannot control the dynamics of your market – just how you react to them. I want to share three pieces of advice that have helped our customers to stay on track during their digital transformation journey, even when external circumstances are challenging.

1. Keep track of your progress and adjust when required

Digital transformation efforts are often regarded as “buzzword bingo” amongst critics. However, as the saying goes, one cannot argue with numbers. Therefore, we have found it crucial to enrich all transformation measures on the initiative roadmap with quantifiable KPIs. To stay on track, those KPIs should be constantly monitored and according to performance, the priorities on the roadmap can be revisited and adjusted to internal and external circumstances. We recommend regular iterations of 3 months of those revisits. In addition, we recommend a holistic re-assessment of the Digital Maturity of your organization every year. A part of Detecon’s initial assessment offering is a training concept, which enables the organizations employees to conduct future assessments without external involvement.

2. Don’t fall into blind actionism

The roadmap is drawn, the measures are defined and everyone is eager to start to working on the new initiatives and transform the organization. Even though using that early enthusiasm can create a powerful momentum and a “get things done” attitude, it is not advisable to overload one’s plate and to start shifting every measure to a high priority. A digital transformation should be regarded rather a marathon than a sprint. Therefore: don’t lose sight of which measures are meant to be quick wins, and which are long term goals. Trying to get everything done at once will more often than not have the result that not much gets done.

3. Involve your employees

We have also observed the opposite effect of what I described in the previous point. As the consultants leave for the airport and the daily operations start again for most employees, stakeholders throughout the organization lose interest in the digital transformation plans. Bringing change to an organization is rarely an easy task, there will be internal politics hindering progress and employees opposed to any sort of change. In our experience, these issues are best tackled by constantly involving all key employees of the organization along the journey. Therefore, Detecon led Digital Maturity Assessments always include a change management and communication plan to garner support for the transformation throughout the organization.

We have experienced great success stories from our customers that have adhered to those pieces of advice, and we strongly believe they can also be of help for you throughout your journey.