Is Your Business Ready for a Digital Future?

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Successfully incorporating today's digital technologies requires companies to operate in new ways. To explore how digital technologies are changing the way companies do business, MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Consulting, LLP surveyed more than 4,800 respondents and interviewed 19 business and thought leaders.

The central question: How are companies using digital technologies — such as social media, data and analytics, mobile devices, and cloud computing — to compete differently?

Using results from this data, the authors provide you with insights regarding the state of digital business.

Kane is an associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Palmer is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP. Phillips is a senior manager within Deloitte Services LP. Kiron is the executive editor of the Big Ideas Initiatives at MIT Sloan Management Review.

A key concept that drove their research is digital business maturity. They asked survey respondents to "imagine an ideal organization transformed by digital technologies and capabilities that improve processes, engage talent across the organization, and drive new and value-generating business models," and then to rate their company against that ideal on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the farthest from that ideal and 10 being the closest.

Forty five percent of respondents placed their companies in the middle or "developing" group, while 29 percent put their companies in the higher "maturing" category. The remaining 26 percent placed their companies in the lower "early" group.

Perhaps the most important insight from the research is that the key drivers of digital transformation are not the technologies themselves. There was far less difference than expected in the types of technologies implemented, and the extent to which they were used, between companies of high and low digital maturity.

Instead, greater differences were found between high- and low-maturity companies across the business aspects of the companies — in particular, strategy, culture, and talent development. These differences represent an important distinction between companies with high and low digital maturity and offer insights for executives.

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