Digital Transformation & Maturity

BT ‘drinks its own champagne’ with the Digital Maturity Model

To get to where we need to be with digital transformation, we must first understand where we are. Going digital is the goal, but what does that mean? How do you know whether you’re on the right path? Or where to focus your efforts?

These are questions BT has struggled with as it transforms. For the past several years, the company has been dividing its IT architecture into platforms that are accessible through open APIs, and reducing the total number of IT systems from 4,500 to fewer than 2,000 today. The goal is to get down to just 700 systems. In the video below, George Glass, Chief Systems Architect, BT, explains how his team is using the TM Forum Digital Maturity Model (DMM) to assess the maturity of many of the company’s departments.

How does the DMM help?

Like BT, most companies struggle to define the scope of their transformation programs. A plan that’s not aligned with overall business goals could end up proving redundant, wasting time and costs. A plan that doesn’t have employees on board could fall flat on its face through disinterest and inaction. Indeed, management consultancy McKinsey found that 70% of all transformation projects fail.

TM Forum’s own research, published in our Digital Transformation Tracker, showed that three out of four operators are either at the very early stages of digital transformation or have not yet started. At any stage, but particularly in these early stages, it’s key than such an organization understands what’s critical and where they are lacking. This way it can devise a roadmap that will lessen the risk that comes with transformation, and quickly bring it closer to its digital goals.

A digital maturity model like the DMM helps companies assess their digital maturity and plan transformation across the entire organization. The DMM considers maturity across five key dimensions, each containing an extensive set of sub-dimensions, questions and metrics to assess digital maturity. The dimensions, described below, help companies clarify their existing digital capabilities, set investment priorities and create a target for maturity.

Customer – how much customers view the organization as their digital partner, one that engages with their needs and uses their preferred channels of interaction.

Strategy – to what extent the business transforms or operates to increase its competitive advantage through digital initiatives; also, how much it is embedded within the overall business strategy.

Technology – technology must underpin the success of digital strategy by helping to create, process, store, secure and exchange data to meet the needs of customers at low cost and low overheads.

Operations – How much and how well are processes and tasks evolved and executed using digital technologies? How much does this drive strategic management and enhance business efficiency and effectiveness?

Culture, People and Organization – the organizational culture should have well-designed governance and talent processes to support progress along the digital maturity curve, with the flexibility to achieve its growth and innovation objectives.

BT discerns its own maturity

Glass was part of a group of CSPs and suppliers that helped develop the DMM.

“We have a saying in BT, you should always drink your own champagne,” he says. “So I thought having developed the models, we’d better try it out and use it ourselves.”

Glass and his colleagues decided to test the model with one of BT’s customer-facing units. “That gave us insight across the five dimensions and 25 sub-dimensions of the model, into the digital maturity index of that customer-facing unit. We fed that back to the senior management team within that unit and they were quite impressed by the insights that the model had given us.

“It told us where we had aspirations for digital maturity, and it told us where we had some gaps between what our current maturity was and where we needed to be and allowed us to focus our investments in the right place.”

As a result, the team decided to widen the scope of the model and have now run it across all six customer-facing units within BT. See the full video below.


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

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