Alexander Group recently led a research effort to understand the state of digital maturity across multiple organizations. Elizabeth Watson, director for Alexander Group’s Manufacturing and Distribution practice, broke down the key results from the research providing insight into the attributes of companies at various stages of their digital journey.
Alexander Group asked companies how they define digital, and definitions varied widely. It became clear that many organizations struggle to define digital consistently, with several trying to narrow it down to one thing. Some said e-commerce, while others answered omnichannel or data science.
Defining digital too specifically can be limiting while having too broad of a definition is often unwieldy. Alexander Group’s research indicated that mature digital organizations form around seven objectives that feed into the foundational vision.
The research suggests that in the journey to become a transformational, omnichannel organization, there are four stages that align with customer expectations.
Customers Rely on Physical Channels: Companies do not feel the pressure to maintain more than foundational digital capabilities.
Customer Preferences Begin to Shift: The absence of a digital strategy becomes more of a pain point for the organization and different branches of the company begin experimenting with digital capabilities.
Customers Feel Empowered by Digital: Companies begin integrating data systems and processes across marketing, digital, sales and service organizations.
Customers Expect an Omnichannel Experience: The digital team has architected a sophisticated, omnichannel experience for customers.
As manufacturers and distributors move further along in their digital maturity journey, it becomes necessary to deploy new roles. In the beginning, many organizations will invest in core roles such as demand generation managers and data analysts. Often the next step is to deploy e-commerce managers, and for manufacturing firms, channel marketing specialists. When an organization reaches the transformational stage of its digital journey and is seeking to perfect its omnichannel experience, it will often deploy an omnichannel experience manager and/or an omnichannel program manager for coordination. Finally, a data scientist role is frequently utilized to leverage assets to power predictive, personalized marketing and sales motions.
For most digitally mature organizations, the function of a digital team is eventually elevated outside of commercial and into a separate digital structure, generally owning platforms, marketing and operations.
Executive respondents of the study considered transformational and omnichannel advice they would give to others whose organizations are at an earlier stage of digital change. There were three common themes:
If you are interested in learning more about how Alexander Group can assist your organization with your digital transformation, please contact a manufacturing and distribution practice lead.