Companies and organizations who’ve started their Digital Transformation often wish to bring about change in a controlled environment, gather the results, make any corrections before expanding the process, before applying it organization-wide. This is not only a sound approach, it’s a well understood pattern for ensuring adoption of a solution.
So, what “pattern” am I referring to? What are the steps in an organization’s transition from becoming aware of the need to change, to completely transforming every aspect of the business to be fully digital?
In this post, I’ll outline the ValTeo Digital Transaction Management Maturity Model© that can be used to not only gauge the stage of transformation for your organization, but to plan the next steps and better understand what value a fully digital business holds for you in the future.
This post is part of a series on How to Plan Your Digital Transformation.
What Does the DTM Maturity Model Represent
The Digital Transaction Management (DTM) Maturity Model has been developed by ValTeo Tech to gauge the level of digital transaction automation maturity in an organization, no matter the organization’s size, structure or industry. It’s loosely based on the Digital Transformation Maturity Model by Cognizant’s Brian Solis.
The DTM Maturity Model is both a planning tool and an aspirational roadmap as it points to a future for an organization that we don’t believe yet exists in any company. In fact, it may be that the ideal final stage is one that an organization always strives to attain and never does, but, in the process, makes Digital Transaction Management and, by proxy, Digital Transformation a part of its culture fabric and differentiation strategy.
To demonstrate this point with data, in Forrester’s Predictions 2017: In Digital Transformation, The Hard Work of Operational Excellence Begins, you learn that many organizations that began their Digital Transformation journey early now realize this process is not only about realizing the value in the use of new technologies, but a means to create immersive experiences for their customers and staff to rethink their operational processes. As you can imagine, this is not a single point of metamorphosis, but a continued refinement and redefinition.
By extension, the DTM Maturity Model, as we’ve experienced and defined it, describes the stages an organization traverses as it rethinks many of its customer experience interactions and internal transaction that revolve around paper-based processes.
The diagram below represents the four maturity stages. You’ll notice that the horizontal access defines the timeline of maturity for an organization. However, the vertical axis is left undefined or, at least, not labeled. This is because it can represent a few interchanging variables that may affect the rapidity of earned value, but not its general direction. For example, the vertical axis could be defined as Realized Value, Customer Satisfaction, Efficiency in Use of Resources, or a number of other metrics that an organization uses to measure success and differentiation.
What Does Each Maturity Level Mean
As you read through the definition of these levels, you may think the term “transformation” should apply to the use of a technology that replaces a manual step or an older technology. Our intention for the use of this term goes beyond this. Namely, by “transformation” we mean the use of technology to rethink a process, how people interact as a result of such changes, and the added value that they bring.
An example that often resonates is how the use of smartphones by the general public transformed the methods by which customers wished to, and now do, interact with companies. Smartphones weren’t simply a replacement of functional phones. They weren’t just a better phone, but a device that allowed for significantly different, more meaningful and valuable interaction options. This has lead to complete rethinking of customer support, introduction of new presentation, search and sales process, as well as communication by companies to their customers, employees and other stakeholders.
In this way, our reference to “transformation” or “transformational” then is not just an evolution or transition of a process or ways of doing business from one method or system to another. Transformation is intended to mean a complete metamorphosis that leads to rethinking of how business is done and, in many case, elimination of what’s no longer relevant and introduction of new methods, process or even lines of business.
At this level, an organization has not yet recognized the need for change. Often there is no defined digital strategy and the use of technology, though it may be organized, is not intended nor implemented to be transformational.
Organizations in this stage may still be experiencing growth and are profitable. In essence, they perceive no business problem. So, why solve it. This scenario applies to both organizations that are too young, such as startups in established industries, or established companies where the old way of doing things continues to deliver results. In this latter group, the companies may be risk averse and uninterested in being disruptive.
While companies in this group often implement new technologies like a new CRM, ERP or DTM solution, these implementations are often a (further) digitization of how things were done before. In other words, Nascent companies are not without technology, but they don’t necessarily use it to transform their business and industry.
Companies in this category have recognized the need to change, albeit this may be a recognition by just one visionary leader or individual contributor. The recognition may result from shrinking profits and the introduction of external threats, forcing the organization to rethink its legacy processes.
Though a digital strategy may not yet be defined, it’s begun to take shape as a result of new experiments setup to rethink how business can be done for one use case or department. Such efforts are tactical and departmental, rather than organizational.
The technologies selected are chosen based on specific goals with selected metrics designed to not only measure success but determine whether an implementation was transformative. These initial implementations can be quite cumbersome as they require a whole new method of thinking, change management and knowledge transfer.
Knowledge of the new systems and processes are limited to the departments or groups who are conducting the experiments. Some of the lessons may be documented, but most of them are anecdotal and can be viewed as tribal knowledge. In fact, there’s no defined program or process for assessing new scenarios and candidates for change based on transformation, value-based metrics.
The teams involved often have an understanding of agile process and experiment with how it can be implemented at their organization. At first, such attempts are to combine the legacy Command and Control or central decision making with agile, resulting in what we refer to as Cagile (ka-gyle) process: partly centralized, partly agile with latency in making changes, learning from them, and deciding on new directions. This is a transitionary period and, though not optimal, a necessary step to begin the switch to a fully agile and decentralized decision-making process typically seen in more entrepreneurial / intrapreneurial settings.
Accelerated organizations often have understood the value of a digital transformation using DTM technologies based on limited experiments they’ve completed. Thus they actively develop and incorporate a digital strategy with the larger company growth strategy. What metrics to use to demonstrate successful transformations as well as measures on whether a transformation is even needed are defined and understood.
As a result of multiple experiments, the organization not only understands which transformative technologies to use, but also begins to build a roadmap for fully incorporating and integrating these technologies with other backend systems to reduce any manual transfer of data between such systems. All planning for new process or use cases to undergo transformations also incorporates integration modeling between the various systems.
Given the new company digital strategy, the early adopters and experimenters are tasked with developing a Center of Excellence (CoE) around shared technologies, skills, training and knowledge transfer. The CoE is also tasked with documenting the process to assess new use cases, determine their priority and develop timelines. They act as the central support hub, with specialized roles such as Chief Digital Officer, Digital Evangelist or similar titles leading them.
Agile processes are fully deployed and considered central to instituting a culture of continual improvement that involves deliberate experimenting by developing Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). In this way, MVPs are quickly validated by all stakeholders involved to determine whether the intended value can be realized with the new solution, how it can be corrected, or what changes need to be made to optimize it. Collaboration among teams, departments and regions, then, becomes part of the paradigm shift, though it is something that still requires training by CoE for each new group brought into this new strategic fold.
At the Optimized level, digital strategy has become a part of the cultural fabric of the organization and is lived through every decision. This is evidenced when the digital strategy is not discussed as a separate piece that needs to be incorporated into the annual strategic review and planning, but it is the central aspect of the company strategic plan around which all other initiatives take shape.
Highly specific roles that were previously defined to help focus the organization on the digital transformation efforts are no longer needed. Hence, such titles as Chief Digital Officer or Digital Evangelists are eliminated and, instead, the related skills are incorporated into every individual contributor and leadership position. Training on how to foster such thinking and skills are fully formalized and become not only a part of the hiring process, but also part of their continual education.
The agile process of scientific experimentation is fully adopted by all teams and ingrained into every aspect of business, with small teams formed for both strategic and tactical projects. To that end, the CoE is decentralized and replicated in each region or practice in order to scale adoption of the new processes.
The entrepreneurial spirit of freedom to experiment, fail early, revise and retry is fully employed, including for revisions to the process to manage any transformative change. Everyday meetings and discussions have an inherent focus on how to optimize every aspect of business and measure any efficiency or efficacy based on understood metrics. In turn, the metrics themselves are challenged from time to time to determine whether better measures of success for fine tuning customer experience and process automation should be considered and used.
As you can now understand, this Optimized organization is likely inspirational in the same way that excellence can be achieved, but always leaving room for improvements.
In our future posts we’ll cover how the ValTeo DTM Maturity Model© can be used to better define your DTM transformation plan and, more specifically, which metrics can be used at each stage.