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Clear sector-specific differences in companies’ digimaturity levels

19/09/2019

An online tool provided by VTT has offered organisations an opportunity to examine their  digimaturity level and compare it with other organisations. The analysis of the responses given by the Finnish users of VTT's DigiMaturity tool, in use since 2017, shows that the progress of digitalisation in companies has not been accelerating and that there are major differences in how various sectors take advantage of digitalisation.

The DigiMaturity tool does not explore specific technologies but examines an organisation's operations in a comprehensive manner. The six main dimensions examined by VTT's DigiMaturity tool include Strategy, Business Model, Customer Interface, Organisation and Processes, People and Culture, and Information Technology.

Digimaturity develops slowly

Based on the responses given via the DigiMaturity tool, the progress rate of digitalisation in companies has remained at about the same level over the two-year analysis period. This finding is also supported by the mention in the Finnish Digibarometer 2019 report1, published in June, that even though companies increasingly exploit digitalisation in their business activities, in recent years the growth has been slow.

When examining the average results of all responses, the highest levels of digimaturity were reached in the dimensions Organisation and processes and Information technology. These are, after all, prerequisites for utilising digitalisation. However, the high maturity level may also indicate that digitalisation is advancing with technology as first priority Digitalisation should be taken into account in all operations of the organisation. The company's strategy, offering, employees, culture and structure have also to meet the needs for change enabled by digitalisation and take into account the expectations of the customers, employees and partners.2,3.  The level reached in the Strategy dimension is also fairly high, with the dimensions Business model, and People and culture following not far behind.

Instead, the average for the Customer Interface dimension has remained at the lowest level of all throughout the analysis period. "The opportunities offered by digitalisation in involving customers and development of digital services have not been seized by everyone as extensively as they could be. This usually requires big data and interaction between various systems," says Senior Scientist Olli Kuusisto from VTT.

The differences in the various dimensions between the private sector and the public sector are small, although the private sector would seem to be slightly ahead of the public sector in almost every dimension. In the dimensions Customer Interface and Organisation and processes, the results are very similar.

In the service sector, companies have come far in digimaturity

There are major differences in how various sectors take advantage of digitalisation. The biggest differences in digimaturity emerged in sector-specific comparison of companies.

 

FIGURE: The comparison of digimaturity dimensions between chosen sectors.

The financing and insurance services and the IT-sector services were at a clearly higher level of maturity in every dimension compared to other sectors examined. The Customer interface dimension reflected, for example, the investments in digital consumer services made by the financing and insurance sector. Other service branches were at a significantly lower level than this sector and the IT services, but still at a higher level than companies in the manufacturing industry. 

Slightly smaller differences between the service sector and the manufacturing industry could be detected in the dimensions Organisation and processes, and Information technology. These dimensions also showed a clear difference between the average figures of companies manufacturing metal products and companies manufacturing machinery and equipment. Based on this study, companies manufacturing metal products are at a higher level in both dimensions.

Mapping of digimaturity is the starting point for development

VTT has been making long-span efforts in analysing the progress of digitalisation and assess its impacts, and to develop processes and tools for accelerating the digitalisation of both private and public sector. The DigiMaturity tool, publicly available online, gives the respondents a quick overall picture of the organisation's digimaturity with the help of 26 questions. It takes about 20 minutes to answer the survey, and the result graph is ready as soon as all the questions have been answered.

The tool assesses digimaturity using a scale from 0 to 4. The lowest score means that digitalisation has not been utilised yet, whereas on the highest level the organisation both applies digitalisation and follows and develops it. The objective is not to reach the highest level of maturity in every dimension, but it is important for companies to be aware of their current status and consider which level the organisation should aim for.

VTT has also made a separate version of the tool for organisation-specific workshops, in which case several people from the same organisation have first been invited to respond to the survey and, afterwards, to attend a workshop to discuss the results. The workshops have been a good way of highlighting various aspects of digitalisation within the company and creating a joint overall picture of it, as people acting in different roles have replied to the survey from their own perspectives. It is clear that not every question is equally clear and relevant to every respondent, but in joint discussions it has also been possible to open up views one may not have been so familiar with. 

The results give justified grounds for considering a suitable target level for one's own organisation in various dimensions, and different measures for reaching the desired level. This will help in creating the best possible digitalisation strategy with regard to the whole organisation and target the development steps in accordance with the strategy for most beneficial outcomes.

"We have successfully used the DigiMaturity tool as part of the service for mapping the digitalisation status of companies developed in the DigiLeap ERDF project. In the project, we have produced digitalisation status analyses for 19 SMEs, based on which the companies have been able to steer their digital development. According to our experience, companies considered the mapping of their digitalisation status a good way of assessing where they are now and in which direction they should steer their development measures next," explains Senior Scientist Jukka Kääriäinen from VTT.

See the digimatury survey at https://digimaturity.vtt.fi/

The DigiMatury tool has been in use since 2017 as an online survey open for anyone in Finnish and in English. So far, over 300 people have responded the survey. In the analysis made, we examined the material from 3/2017 to 3/2019. For the analysis, we selected organisations operating in Finland with 10 employees or more. Furthermore, we excluded the responses which lacked background information or had not been responded in full. The final analysis included approximately 200 responses, of which 60% represented organisations operating in the private sector and 40% organisations operating in the public sector.

 

VTT has also implemented a tool for examining the organisation's artificial intelligence maturity: https://ai.digimaturity.vtt.fi/

Support for SME companies making controlled advances in digitalisation can also be found on the website Apuadigiin (in Finnish): https://www.apuadigiin.fi/

 

Sources:

  1. Finnish Digibarometer 2019 https://www.etla.fi/julkaisut/digibarometri-2019-digi-tulee-mutta-riittavatko-resurssit/
  2. Parviainen, P., Tihinen, M., Kääriäinen, J., & Teppola, S. (2017). Tackling the Digitalisation Challenge: How to Benefit from Digitalisation in Practice. International Journal of Information Systems and Project Management5(1), 63-77. 
  3. Kane, G., Palmer, D., Philips, A., Kiron, D. and Buckley, N. (2015) 'Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation', MIT Sloan Management Review