What Does a Digitally Mature and Adaptive Business Look Like?| By |Nandine Banerjee

Your toolkit for spotting digitally adaptive and mature businesses in vertical and horizontal markets.

We are not a pedantic bunch at Adapt2Digital, but phrases like ‘how to become digital’ or ‘make your business digital’ don’t make good business sense to us. They paint an incomplete picture. Our experience shows that doing ‘digital’ is not enough. We prefer to make businesses adaptive as well as digitally mature, by building in the ability to, at least keep up with, but preferably to stay ahead, of a constantly changing digital world.

Change-friendly

What do we mean by that? Well, a successful digitally mature and adaptive business knows that it’s not about being digital but accepting that change as much as digital is the business norm. The digitally adaptive business views digital change as an opportunity and not a threat.

Engagement with stakeholders

Breaking down barriers by collaborating and communicating with the workforce, has ensured that the C-Suite and managers in a digitally adaptive and mature business spread the message that making the organisation digitally adaptive is not frightening. Instead, it has been explained as a simple and effective means of staying abreast of ever-growing digital needs of stakeholders, whether they are customer, workforce, supplier, or anyone else. Given that every generation – X, Y, Z, – and any other post-millennial group symbolised by any letter of the alphabet that one can think of – is digital to its toes, the digitally adaptive business, you will find, is recruiting the best people.

Infrastructure

The entire digitally adaptive business is geared towards digital. Silos are replaced by one, seamless digital organisation. So you won’t find, in a digitally adaptive organisation, separated, isolated and standing proudly alone sales, marketing and customer service departments. The organisation has realised the benefits of understanding all the aspects that affect acquiring, selling to, delivering and retaining customers. People continuously collaborate through technology enabled integration.

Technology-aware

We have placed this lower down in our list because, as we are constantly saying, digital is not merely about technology. Digital leaders keep tabs on technology advances but do not obsess about it. They have established working practices that mean that technology is the enabler by which they have made and continue to make their business digital.

Communication

The C-Suite in a digitally adaptive business does not forget to continue to communicate how the different parts of the digital business keep pace with the digital world and the accruing benefits. Participation is the word of the decade for leadership in a digitally mature and adaptive business.

Futurism

When looking for your digitally adaptive competitors, customers and suppliers look for a C-Suite where its members show openness to using whatever is required to keep the business digital and where they positively seek out rather than merely welcome ideas from its workforce. An obsession about the future, in terms of emerging technologies that can ensure you keep pace with changing behaviours and needs, is the menu for the day.

Fleet of foot

Long-established companies (or even ones that are a decade or so old) that are not digitally adaptive tend to lumber along. To spot the digitally-active organisation, look for one that is lean and fleet-footed even where it faces competition from start-ups that don’t have the overheads that frequently encumber older businesses and organisations. This hints at the core concept of adaptiveness.

Finance

The CFO and colleagues anchor digital back to the business and prove real, tangible ROI, but acknowledge the value of outcome based reporting and customer centric focus rather than budget focus.

If any of the characteristics of a digitally-adaptive and mature business sound familiar it’s because many are the distinguishing marks of a successful business. You’re not building a digital business; you’re building a successful business that has all the necessary characteristics and qualities to survive and grow in a digital world. Successful businesses don’t do things a particular way, because they have always done them that way. They do them because they make sense in a world that is now built on digital.

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