Reaching digital maturity: How to influence your stakeholders

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 by Intergy Consulting
Reaching digital maturity
Reaching digital maturity

According to the study Digital Maturity: The Next Big Step, sponsored by Ricoh and conducted by Coleman Parkes Research, 71% of the business leaders surveyed reported that they’re confident their business can transition to digital maturity within just five years. According to the study, 77% of leaders are prioritising the achievement of digital maturity.

73% of business leaders believe that reaching this digital maturity will lead directly to an increase in profits, while 62% believe it will increase their company’s appeal to potential new owners and investors.

Research by Capgemini Consulting and MIT Sloan Management Review found that businesses considered to be digital leaders would generate 26% more profit and 9% more revenue than the average in their industries. They also had a market valuation that was 12% higher than others in the industry, so it’s easy to see why so many business leaders are currently prioritising digital maturity.

What is digital maturity?
Digital maturity is the combination of a number of factors.

Firstly, it includes the level of investment in initiatives related to technology, that can potentially change how a company operates.

It also includes transformation management intensity, which is investment in leadership capabilities needed in order to create digital transformation within that company.

In order for digital transformation to be successful, strong leadership is a must. Unfortunately, 41% of those surveyed also said they don’t have an active and engaged senior team interested and concerned about digital maturity. So how do you influence your stakeholders and convince them to prioritise digital transformation?

For many businesses, the goal of reaching digital maturity within 5 years is a lofty one and may be overly optimistic considering that so many business leaders admit that they haven’t yet started their digital journey, while others are still waiting for the leadership, involvement, and support of their senior executives.

The importance of having a supportive leadership team and engaged stakeholders can’t be overemphasised, and your digital transformation will often live or die depending on how well you can persuade these stakeholders to see your side.

So how do you gain and maintain support for your plan to reach digital maturity if you don’t have the authority needed to go ahead? Often, how well you manage stakeholder relationships and how clearly you communicate your ideas will determine your level of success.

Stakeholder management is about managing the expectations and communication of people who will be affected by your project’s deliverables. Here are some tips to help you successfully influence your stakeholders as you aim for digital maturity:

Understand your stakeholders
If you engage with your stakeholders early, you’ll have a much better chance of helping them understand what it is you’re hoping to achieve. You’ll also need to understand their concerns and see where they’re coming from so you can pitch your digital transformation plan in the most favourable light for your audience.

Prepare and plan
It’s a good idea to make a list of all the people who can impact your quest for digital maturity. Work out which stakeholders are for, and which are against your plans, and if necessary, make a note of how much power they have. Next, consider how your stakeholders think, and how you can begin to influence each person.

There are so many resources available online which prove the importance of digital transformation, so finding some relevant studies to reference can help. Researching your competitors to see where they are along the digital transformation timeline is another way to find key information that could help swing the vote, particularly if other businesses in your industry are implementing smart ideas and going forward with large digital projects.

Make your pitch
You’ll need to consider the best communication style for each stakeholder, and adapting your style to match theirs is the best way to make sure you’re heard.

Some stakeholders may require a one-on-one approach so you can explain your plan in detail and listen to any objections. Others may want a high-level presentation, detailing your plan and the benefits the company will receive while striving for digital maturity. You may even find that you need to provide more background and analysis to satisfy some stakeholders. If you’re not sure which communication style your stakeholders prefer, don’t be afraid to ask for their preference, or even ask someone else who works with them closely.

It’s also a good idea to tell stakeholders what’s in it for them. How will they benefit from this digital maturity, and how will your company benefit as a whole? Be sure to leave time for questions and concerns at the end of your pitch so you can answer these immediately.

If you’re focusing on achieving digital maturity for your business and want to talk with an experienced software development company, get in touch with Intergy today.

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