The digital transformation is putting organizations’ adaptability to the test. But help is at hand. Companies can refer to the independent IDC MaturityScape model to find out what level of digital maturity they have reached and to develop their own strategy for the digital transformation.

No adaptability = no success: That’s the simple equation for today’s businesses. Plus, there’s the element of digitalization to factor in. One third of the top 20 market leaders in their respective industries will have slipped out of that ranking in as little as three years’ time. Why? Because, says market research, analysis, and advisory expert IDC, they will be unable to withstand the force of competition from emerging rivals that are developing new approaches — à la Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon — that conventional business models simply can’t hold a candle to.

Ready for the digital transformation?

No one is in any doubt that the pace of change is a major challenge for the business world. Companies are under immense pressure to adapt their business models and to come up with an individual response to the digital transformation.

“It’s not necessarily a case of achieving the highest level of digital maturity,” as Anja Schneider, Head of Innovation Sales at SAP, explains. “It’s much more about being as innovative as the business model demands.”

And it is here that enterprises have ground to make up. “Companies are definitely recognizing the need to join the digital transformation more and more,” says Schneider, “but many are simply not taking that vital step of anchoring the transformation in their enterprise strategy.”

Independent market experts like analysts IDC have developed a holistic approach to helping companies address the digital transformation. Using a compact maturity model, the IDC analysts show how far a company’s digital transformation has progressed to date. Also, most importantly, this maturity check provides tips on where a company needs to start taking action if it is to remain a key market player both now and in the future.

“The first step uses an independent benchmark to create a company-specific output report. Then, in the next step, we help the customer interpret this status analysis to its advantage and formulate plans for staying successful in the market,” explains SAP expert Schneider. “The independent IDC MaturityScape model offers an effective aid for our customers and gives us a foundation for deriving potential next steps and accompanying our customers on their digital transformation journey.”

The results of the IDC maturity check help companies follow a holistic approach to the digital transformation so that they can grow and develop in a successful and sustainable way. Of course, far from being restricted to IT, the digital transformation impacts a total of five dimensions – leadership, information, operating models, the omni-channel experience, and the working world. Thus, says IDC, the digital transformation requires enterprises to maintain an all-round view of the five dimensions and to ensure cooperation between all their lines of business.

The five stages in the IDC MaturityScape model

IDC distinguishes between five stages of maturity in its independent MaturityScape model. Companies described as “Digital Resisters” (stage 1) are in the very early stages of digitalization. At the other end of the scale, “Digital Disruptors” (stage 5) are companies that are already disruptive in their use of new business models.

Stage 1: Digital Resister

What’s the situation? Business and IT digital initiatives are disconnected and poorly aligned with enterprise strategy. There is no focus on customer experiences.

What’s the outcome? Business is a laggard, providing weak customer experiences and using digital technology only to counter threats.

What action is required? Business should begin to analyze its competitors and comparable industries to understand how it can turn digital projects to its advantage.

Stage 2: Digital Explorer

What’s the situation? Business has identified a need to develop a digitally enhanced, customer-driven business strategy, but execution is on a project basis. Success is not predictable or repeatable.

What’s the outcome? Digitally enabled customer experiences and products are inconsistent and poorly integrated.

What action is required? Business should adopt a dedicated digital transformation management approach to define company-wide standards and processes.

Stage 3: Digital Player

What’s the situation? Business-IT goals are aligned at enterprise level around the creation of digital products and experiences, but not yet focused on the disruptive potential of digital initiatives.

What’s the outcome? Business provides consistent but not truly innovative products, services, and experiences.

What action is required? To be competitive, companies need to identify which of their core functions could potentially profit from the digital transformation. If it’s clear where a digital omni-experience could provide the edge over competitors, then it’s the job of human resources to recruit suitable experts.

Stage 4: Digital Transformer

What’s the situation? Integrated, synergistic business-IT management disciplines deliver digitally enabled product/service experiences on a continuous basis.

What’s the outcome? Business is a leader in its market, providing world-class digital products, services, and experiences.

What action is required? Business needs to stay alert and observe which approaches and technologies start-ups are deploying that could be relevant for its own operations.

Stage 5: Digital Disruptor

What’s the situation? Business is aggressively disruptive in the use of new digital technologies and business models to affect markets. Ecosystem awareness and feedback is a constant input to business innovation.

What’s the outcome? Business remakes existing markets and creates new ones to its own advantage and is a fast-moving target for competition.

What action is required? Business needs to focus on developing its personnel, and constantly examining its processes and its ability to deliver on the new business model.

Top image via Shutterstock