How to progress the digital evolution curve

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional
6 min read

The ‘digital’ opportunity is enormous, with staggering growth in every territories and sectors

Along with the opportunities come some significant challenges as you adjust to highly demanding digitally-savvy customers.

These challenges are due to the pace, complexity and the amount of change.

Opportunities and challenges

This shifting environment implies that digitally-led business transformation is really a complex and on-going journey – an evolution to transition and optimise your organization.

Even digitally native companies understand that they need to innovate and stay prior to the game due to growing disruption and rapid technological change.

Understanding your starting place and direction of travel

Before getting into any digital change programme, it is vital to truly have a clear understanding where your starting point is and the direction you should travel.

  • What can be your starting place?
  • Why are you currently attempting to transform digitally?
  • What can be your priority?
  • What can be your measurement of success?

Without this, you will be contemplating a pricey, potentially highly disruptive and business-wide change programme without setting an obvious vision and well thought-out strategy and objectives.

The digital evolution curve: simplifying the complex

At Digital Works Group we explain how any organisation can digitally optimise itself to build up competitive advantage with a simple ‘digital evolution curve’.

This proven graphic originated because our clients needed a straightforward and clear illustration of what the normal digital transformation journey might appear to be.

The graphic makes it simple to plot the trajectory a small business can make as time passes, regardless of industry, size or maturity.

Most importantly it illustrates how businesses can progress the digital curve to keep competitiveness and thrive when confronted with disruptive innovation, increasing competition and rapidly changing consumer behaviour.

So let’s dive in.


“Approximately 90% of CEOs understand that digital technology is impacting their industry, but less than 15% are digitally transforming with an obvious plan.”

The curve explained

Stage 0: No digital plans

This is a lot more common than you imagine!

We estimate that over 50% of businesses don’t have a comprehensive arrange for embracing digital technology.

Most companies are doing something, nonetheless it may very well be uncoordinated rather than linked right to the long-term plans for the business enterprise. If businesses usually do not fix this, they’ll become obsolete ultimately.

Stage 1. Digital Marketing Transformation

Digital marketing transformation can be achieved as a definite project, and rapidly deliver revenue benefits. Done well, this may increase confidence and kick-start your wider digital transformation.

This stage handles what we’d term as micro transformation.

Digital is initially bolted to the marketing function to transform just how an organization engages with the exterior world (and staff/partners too) to provide a front-end multi-channel experience. Important elements include:

  • Multichannel communications improve acquisition and retention
  • Responsive digital assets increase conversion
  • Data Analytics is driving marketing performance
  • Integrated digital enhances competitiveness
  • Best in class platforms support marketing effectiveness and speed

A typical business at this time: could have a strong website and analytics supporting the client experience. It really is about revenue generation and top-line benefit.

Often a stage 1 organization has legacy core systems and logistics; finance, reporting, operations, and HR tend to be on separate older systems. Processes frequently incorporate people and transfers of files etc.

Things to take into account: So how exactly does the culture of one’s organization tick? How will digital channels and processes be adopted across audiences, e.g. Staff, customers, and suppliers? Digital is another channel, not the only real channel.

Clear benefits: This is usually a good way to begin with on the digital journey, allowing a business to invest in customer-facing enhancements.

Stage 2. Company-wide transformation

Stage 2 offers a more macro-transformation.

We typically could see a small business who has recently enhanced their marketing and front-end digital experience, delivering a multichannel experience in the front-end, but are actually ready to attempt company-wide transformation. Important elements include:

  • Multichannel customer experience improves satisfaction and engagement
  • IT and operational enhancements increase efficiencies and lower costs
  • Data insights improve strategic decision making and enhance business performance
  • A digitally ready business is adaptable and drives growth through integrated e-commerce, martech, and HR
  • Top and bottom-line benefits

A typical business at this time: Could have multiple large technology programmes in flight. It’ll be concentrating on standardizing the normal processes and implementing the brand new policy and risk frameworks. The business enterprise will be concentrating on costs, efficiency, speed and simplicity.

Things to take into account: The business enterprise should be clear concerning the outcomes they would like to see, the KPI’s and targets.

This stage is technically probably the most complex (plus some argue boring), nonetheless it is essential to create the wide-ranging great things about digitization.

Clear benefits: This stage brings simplicity and cost saving (margin growth). It often results in scale too.

Stage 3. Class-leading industry and business innovation

Stage 3 is where all of the new stuff happens.

Lots of new disruptive businesses start here, building new/simplified methods to do mundane or complex tasks.

The activities seen gain traction quickly and disintermediate complex existing process or embrace new technology to provide transformational customer experience. A few examples include:

  • Enabling new forms of CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION where Digital reaches your business’s heart, not really a buzzword
  • Driving business design change and new solution innovation
  • Delivering game-changing competitiveness and its own disruptive benefits
  • Industry & business design benefit

Typical business activities in this stage: Are pilots, trials and new ventures. They could have create a shadow IT team. Building new solutions in parallel which ultimately take the lead.

Things to take into account: These activities could be expensive and should be tracked and constantly measured to make sure they are affordability.

Businesses should be prepared to fail (fail) and just forget about it. Be prepared to run plenty of innovation trials in parallel. Everyone must be involved in causeing this to be transformation successful so don’t hide it away.

Clear benefits: This stage brings change quickest. It really is disruptive when done effectively to both business and competitors.

How you can begin to go up the digital curve

1. Learn how digitally enabled your organization is right now

Before you begin to look at a long-term digital strategy (particularly if you’re at stage 0 or getting into stage 1), you need to create a good focusing on how digitally enabled your organization is in comparison to best practice.


This can help you gain clarity on what big the duty is. Transformation could be complex and involve significant investments regarding time and resources. You should be confident guess what happens you must do to be truly competitive and maximize your digital investments.

A digital audit might help give a clear knowledge of the way the business comes even close to digital best practice.

Typically an electronic audit will hire a highly structured evaluation process to get end-to-end insight into how digitally optimized the business enterprise is. This, subsequently, will allow you to achieve top-level tips about what, where, and how exactly to digitally transform.

2. Set an obvious vision of what your long-term business goals are and how you will definitely achieve them

Set a clear vision of what your long-term business goals are and how you will achieve them.

At the center of any successful business is really a laser-focus on objectives and strategy.

You must know very well what you are attempting to achieve. This implies creating a strategic vision of what you need to check like and identifying the critical success factors which are needed.

This strategy ought to be in line with the right insights and analysis. Your organization vision must be agreed and shared over the business.

3. Develop a clear framework for change

Once you have set your vision, this will work submit glove having an actionable long-term plan. Developing a framework for delivering change.

Execution ought to be measured and tracked centrally so that you can follow the performance of one’s digital transformation.

There must be stakeholder-focused metrics and deliverables, and collective responsibility in the senior executive for delivering digital transformation.

4. Finally, get communication and engagement moving in your company for digital transformation to work

It sounds simple, but also for change to occur, it will not be achieved in silos.

There ought to be a collaborative environment and creation process where people over the organization to interact and have a frequent conversation.

Everyone must a knowledge of what you would like your vision to be and how it’ll change your company. You must understand how big is the task and what it will try make the change happen.

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional

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