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Fuelling success through digital maturity

INSIGHTS | October 12th

Digital Maturity quickly became the focus this year after the notable transformational shifts of 2020. Are you clear on what this means for you and your organisation?

Article by Nathan Baranowski

In today’s increasingly digital first world, at Digital Wonderlab we firmly believe that every problem we face has a digital solution. Sometimes you can’t quite see it, or we might not know about it, yet.
But now, more than ever, is the right time to start thinking about how we apply the digital knowledge around us to the business or societal need we are seeking to solve - given the acceleration of technology within our lives, in the last year particularly.


It’s a Digital Revolution


The reality is that we are in a digital revolution, and one that will continue to evolve at pace in the coming months and years ahead. A recent report by Ofcom shows that about 94% of homes now have internet access, up from the previous year, as we spent more time home working and home schooling – not to mention online gaming, video calling friends and accessing health services.

We are spending on average 3 hours 37 minutes a day on smartphones, tablets and computers. 53% of all households are subscribing to a video-on-demand service and around half of us are using apps over 11 times a day to communicate, socialise, work, and generally keep ourselves safe and well.
None of these things have replaced the telephone, going out, face to face meetings or visiting health professionals, but they have enabled us to carry on with our lives to an extent that we will never go back to before we had them.

Our expectations of blending our physical and virtual worlds to enjoy the best experiences are higher than ever, as we all have access to technology at more points in our lives than ever before. Every organisation needs to consciously engage through technology - the risk is too high not to ensure you have the right digital footprint and eco system to support your aims and objectives, and ultimately the people all around you.


Digital Maturity is the answer


The great news is you can find the answer to moving forward with purpose through Digital Maturity. Ultimately this is as much about a mindset which enables us to take a fresh look through a digital lens to survey our landscape now and in the future as it is about being curious. With curiosity comes an understanding of the technology around us, and the future trends appearing in our society, including how we are interacting with technology in our own areas as well as other sectors.

It helps us to seek new opportunities, often pushing us to explore how things could be different, indeed better, if we employed a digital alternative. This is not just about how we can move something from being face to face to being online, it’s about thinking further ahead and looking at things we have never been able to achieve; but with digital they just might be possible.

The journey into digital maturity can help us mitigate risk, as we purposefully engage with technology, clearly knowing the risks that surround us and building with this a strong governance and decision making network supported by experts, research and checkpoints, to set ourselves up for success at every stage of the process.

This also gives us a way to constantly evolve from a robust position of having powerful insights as the best foundation from which to test, learn and adapt to ensure rather than fall we push forward. Technology and our expectations will continue to change, so we must move with them.



What happens when we digitally mature?


Here are 6 key things that digital maturity can bring to your organisation:




Digital needs and ambitions become embedded in your strategy, culture, the way you solve problems, and work across organisations through each department right through to how you delight your customers and beneficiaries as well as any partnerships. Behaviours begin to change, and one of the first things you often see is the decentralisation of power as more people become involved.




Everyone becomes empowered and engaged to contribute and be accountable for making change happen and embracing the digital first future. It doesn’t reside with one IT team, or the Finance Director or a digital agency to deliver digital ambitions – everyone becomes part of the movement, and this typically leads not just to an internally facing experience but one that becomes truly user led; read The Disabilities Trust Case study to see how digital really made an impact across the organisation to really benefit the people who mattered most.


A User centred approach


Putting the user at the centre of strategy and service development to realise ambitions is fundamental, and supports designing specifically around a defined target audience by fully immersing in their world and understanding their needs. Asking how digital can help satisfy these and solve the challenges they face, often entails an organisation becoming more digitally agile and responsive. The Fire Fighters Charity is a lovely example of how this organisation did just that, by strategically approaching the future through the lens of the people they care about more, the fire and rescue services community.


Efficiency and Effectiveness


Adding value and using your most important and costly asset (your people) to deliver well using digital in the most beneficial and supportive way. This puts a focus on streamlining ways of working and how technology can help teams to achieve constantly stretching business objectives. To see this in action take a look at the Great Western Credit Union are how they moved into a digital first world by enabling their staff to do more and do it better and faster - doubling the business opportunity without adding unnecessary costs, retaining all of their branches for face to face contact with customers whilst improving all of their services and beating expectations.


Human +


It is not about replacing people or services, but focusing technology upon enhancing, elevating, and improving - we call this Human + as it helps to describe the need for people working harmoniously in our digital first world. Enabling humans to focus their time, energy and expertise on the important things at the right time and in the right place. Working with Cerebral Palsy Cymru really helped to bring this to life, supporting their teams to carry out their life enhancing services whilst transitioning to a tech enabled way to make it easier for everyone.


Reach and scale


Technology allows you to reach people that might have been out of reach before, to bring accessibility to information and advice in a way that works for them. And to be able to get to more people at pace.  The Charlie Waller Trust is a great example of how technology really helped a charity support many young people struggling with mental health issues by providing the support they needed through their digital services, as well as offer dedicated training online to the many staff supporting the roll out of mental health awareness.


Whilst we are passionate about how digital can elevate your services, engage more people, scale your business, connect more with your users, and solve problems you never could previously, we also know that there is still very much a place for face to face time to bring the best impact and deliver the real customer experience. There is always room for the humble post it note, bringing innovation to bear through ideation sessions around a table with colleagues, customers, stakeholders – retaining some of the good traditions whilst blending into a new more agile world using digital.

The reality is that the world is constantly evolving and the decisions we make today pave the way for our future. It’s about being brave enough to take the first steps, and working to make it happen through technology with purpose.

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About the author

Nathan Baranowski

Digital Strategy & Solutions Architect

Chief Wondermaker and Head of Big Thinking, Tech Innovation & Solution Design at the wonderlab of all things digital, Nathan is the lead data scientist and "Super Thinker" in the team - and makes a great cup of coffee (or two).

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