Organizing for digital maturity: Why it matters, how to start

Posted by Anthony Abbatiello Sarah Vassy and Nathaniel Paynter November 2, 2017.

The digital upheaval has really changed the game for organizations, from a "survive and thrive" mentality to one that "evolves or dies," with companies like Blockbuster and Borders serving well-known warnings. The latest global study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital focuses on the race to digital maturity, which turns out to be a marathon rather than a sprint. The study reveals five key practices that distinguish more mature digital organizations, beginning with making systemic changes in the way they organize themselves.

The most mature organizations digitally studied have gone beyond traditional hierarchical structures, understanding that they impede agility. More than 70% of these mature organizations report being organized around cross-functional teams versus only 28% of companies in the early stages of digital development. These mature organizations are also much less likely to report that their structures prevent them from operating digitally effectively.1

Organizational Structure and Numerical Maturity2

Why teams?
The transition to a team structure can help activate digital organization in several ways:

Break down functional silos to unite all parts of the organization to achieve strategic and operational goals.
Built in agility because teams can be quickly trained and disbanded to meet specific needs.
Promotes an iterative environment in which ideas can be quickly tested and accepted, rejected or evolved, because mission-critical decisions are supported at the team level rather than moving forward in a long decision-making hierarchy.
Expands thinking and challenges the status quo as team members from different disciplines and parts of the organization share, reconcile and build on their diverse perspectives.

These qualities of team structures can mean that businesses spend less time talking about doing digital business and more time being digital businesses. Showing a commitment to digital can also have a positive coaching effect: the trend toward stronger "bonding" of employees. Our previous research on digital practices has shown that employees are twice as likely to jump when their business is close to digital maturity. .3

Making Change – Understanding One's Digital DNA
Organizing around cross-functional teams is both a feature of digital maturity and a by-product of it ci – a kind of virtuous circle organizations are increasingly using teams to do their work, and digital maturity inherently promotes a less hierarchical and agile (team-based) way of working.

So, how do you start the circle moving?

Activating digital in your organization begins with understanding its digital DNA-23 traits that characterize digital maturity and "digital". Assessing your organization against these DNA traits reveals strengths and gaps and helps prioritize the traits you want. invest to become more digitally mature.

Realize, though – and this is important – digital maturity is a continuous journey. The MIT Sloan-Deloitte study specifically refers to the higher-maturity organization as being "digitally mature", recognizing that there is no real endpoint to scoring. arrival at full maturity. Even digitally-born businesses that have never operated differently are still developing their digital maturity. For example, Facebook (as well as Deloitte, from elsewhere) has examined its own digital DNA and uses it as an important part of its ongoing digital evolution.

Making Change – Leaders Are Critical
Great leaders are needed for any business to excel, and much of what makes great leaders do not change in the world. digital organization. They still need to understand how to collaborate, inspire and make business decisions. But digital adds another dimension: the need for leaders to understand the changing context in which they lead.

While a traditional leader may need to develop talents to develop his skills and abilities, a leader in a digital context may need to develop talents to quickly be able to prototype, test and refine skills. products or concepts Digital leaders may also have to influence a wider range of stakeholders, both inside and outside the organization. They set the tone, set the tone, shape the behaviors and vision, and articulate that vision, and bring people together to work toward common goals.

Building (or buying) these leaders should be a top priority for any organization that targets digital maturity – which, frankly, should be every organization! (For further background, see this series of articles by our colleague, Noah Rabinowitz, on transformational leaders.) There is not one organization we are talking about that does not 'go digital' In the course of his work. strategy, recognizing that it is necessary for the organization to achieve its goals. Formal (re) organization around networked teams – or at least encouraging an environment that supports such teams – is an essential step towards digital maturity.

Anthony Abbatiello is one of the directors of the Human Capital Division of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He is the leader in Deloitte's digital human capital business and the global leader in Deloitte Leadership. He specializes in digital organizations, leadership development, culture transformation and the digital HR strategy.

Sarah Vassy is a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP in human capital, helping organizations identify and address people's issues in the context of implementation of strategic programs and business transformation.

Nathaniel Paynter is Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP in the field of Human Capital and Deputy Director of its Digital Human Capital business, specializing in the design of organization. It serves customers throughout the consumer products industry and supports their transformation into digital organizations.

1G. C. Kane, D. Palmer, A. N. Phillips, D. Kiron, and N. Buckley, "Achieving Digital Maturity," MIT Sloan Management Review, and Deloitte University Press, July 2017.
3G. C. Kane, D. Palmer, N.N. Phillips, D. Kiron and N. Buckley, "Aligning the Organization for its Digital Future" MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press, July 2016.

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