The five key practices of digitally mature companies

Introducing Deloitte Digital

When Deloitte Digital was launched in New Zealand, it marked the fruition of a number of strategic moves at Deloitte, which collectively support our ambition to make digital real for our clients. The comprehensive set of capabilities at Deloitte Digital means we can make a real impact for our clients and their customers through the transformational potential of digital.

We know from our research, and from talking to and working with our clients, that digital is high on the agenda of executives and boards in New Zealand. And we know that, despite all the focus on the bleeding edge, our clients’ biggest challenges around digital are more often about getting the basics right – integrating old systems, getting a single view of the customer, trying to break down operational silos and keeping customer data safe and secure.

There is a range of stages to digital maturity and many Kiwi businesses are still at the beginning of their journeys, exploring digital and testing the waters with specific initiatives. Given the sheer volume of choice, identifying where to start can put off making material progress.  This ‘spinning of wheels’ along with too much focus on how to identify the next technology breakthrough can cause them to spend a lot and achieve a little.

Often forgotten, a core part of a winning digital transformation strategy is cultivating the talent who will lead the effort and creating an organisational culture to support them. Building the right culture — one that’s ready to support company-wide change and adaptation — is a critical step toward becoming a digitally mature organisation.

Digitally mature companies exhibit other common characteristics. In addition to articulating a clear, coherent digital strategy, they champion cross-functional teams and collaborative cultures; they look ahead five to 10 years; and they pilot and scale experiments to drive innovation.

A Deloitte study of global digital business, undertaken in collaboration with the MIT Sloan Management Review, revealed five key practices that the organisations best able to achieve digital maturity employ. These can serve as a roadmap that all companies can follow.

The five key practices are:

  1. Implementing systemic changes in how they organise and develop workforces, spur workplace innovation, and cultivate digitally minded cultures and experiences. For example, digitally mature companies say they are increasingly organised around cross-functional teams. This fundamental shift in the way work is done has significant implications for organisational behavior, corporate culture, talent recruitment, and leadership tactics.

  2. Playing the long game. Digitally mature companies’ strategic planning horizons are consistently longer than those of less digitally mature organisations, looking out five years or more. Their digital strategies focus on both technology and core business capabilities. Linking digital strategies to a company’s core business and focusing on organisational change and flexibility enables companies to adjust to rapidly changing digital environments.

  3. Scaling small digital experiments into enterprise-wide initiatives that have business impact. At digitally mature entities, small “i” innovations or experiments typically lead to more big “I” innovations than at other organisations. Digitally mature organisations are more than twice as likely as companies are at the early stages of digital development to drive both small, iterative experiments and enterprise-wide initiatives. Digitally mature organisations are also shrewd and disciplined in figuring out how to fund these endeavors and keep them from languishing in the face of more immediate investment needs.

  4. Becoming talent magnets. Employees and executives are highly inclined to jump ship if they feel they don’t have opportunities to develop digital skills. Digitally mature organisations typically understand the need for, and place a premium on, attracting and developing digital talent. Their development efforts often go far beyond traditional training. These businesses create compelling environments for achieving career growth ambitions while acquiring digital skills and experience, which make employees want to stay.

  5. Securing leaders with the vision necessary to lead a digital strategy, and a willingness to commit resources to achieve this vision. These leaders are more likely to have articulated a compelling ambition for what their digital businesses can be and define digital initiatives as core components to achieving their business strategy.

None of these practices involve a sole focus on developing the next killer app, making the next big technological breakthrough or replacing the workforce with robots! They are, in some respects, more mundane and related to long held business fundamentals.  Digital allows us to tackle the fundamentals of business with a new set of tools and at times a new set of rules.  Strategy, design, technology and culture are the key ingredients to making an impact that matters through digital.


Grant Frear, Partner, Consulting

Grant is a lead Partner in the Consulting team, helping businesses develop and implement great strategies to help them achieve their business goals. The world of business and technology is developing at pace, things that were once out of reach for many New Zealand businesses are now a reality. So to really take advantage of this, he believes that business needs to have a mind shift. Well thought out strategies are great, the ability to execute is critical.

Get in touch