Anyone who knows an infantile adult or a surprisingly sure-headed teen knows that maturity is only loosely aligned with age. More likely indicators of maturity include knowing your strengths, working on your weaknesses and being clear about your purpose and direction.
So it is with organisational digital maturity.
The phrase “digital maturity” describes an organisational culture that is able to adapt and evolve to the opportunities and challenges of a digitally changing environment. And the change in the digital environment for businesses and charities has been rapid and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. This well-used quote from Graeme Wood in 2009 describes the situation well;
“The pace of change has never been so fast – and it will never be this slow again”
But for too many charities the warnings given and the opportunities offered by utilising digital technology have just not felt terribly relevant, especially to those who deliver front-line, person-centred services.
Why should we care?
As the gap widens between organisations which are digitally mature enough to be able to evolve as the world around them does, and those which are not, the risks become greater. We can be sure that some, if not all, of these things will happen:
- as the population uses technology more at home, your staff, volunteers and service users will expect more digitally capable businesses and workplaces.
- there will be future updates to legislation (GDPR is not settled yet *shudder*)
- supporters and funders will demand more detailed demonstrations of impact, including analysing impact data and through real life stories
- funders will require assurance that you have basic data and cyber security measures in place
Organisations which are more digitally mature are able to take these changes in their stride, as they can:
- take advantage of flexible technologies and services
- understand their audiences changing requirements
- use data to make evidence-based, strategic decisions
- adapt quickly to changes in legislation and user-needs
- communicate effectively with internal & external audiences
- be confident and resilient against online threats.
How can we develop into a digitally mature organisation?
Just as the development of an individual’s maturity often relies on an honest assessment of their own character – so too is the case for organisations. SCVO have put together a ‘Digital Check-up‘ – a supported assessment process that is launching publically in the coming weeks – to help assess and measure the maturity of your organisation on the following topics:
- leadership, culture and skills
- tools and equipment
- content, marketing and data
- cyber resilience and online threats.
Organisations will then be supported by SCVO to put together a digital maturity action plan outlining priorities for the next three, six and 12 months.
I can think of a good number of charities which are doing great things with digital technology in the sector (see our ‘Digital Pioneers’ for case studies) but I can only think of a handful of charities which I would consider to be ‘mature’; that carry themselves with a confidence and sense of digital purpose from their heads (leadership team) to their fingers and toes (service delivery personnel). And which can step back and assess their own strengths and weaknesses.
If you would like to discuss digital maturity with one of the team, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org