Digital Evolution: The Four-Stage Theory of Digital Transformation


Letting the digital seep through every process (ranging from designing product to marketing) is one of the top priorities for every organization today. Digitally capacitating an organization is a gradual and evolutionary process, that is, it occurs in stages with each stage standing for a certain mark of development. Remember that travelling the road- developing your digital capacities on a daily basis is more important than rushing to the destination- forcing a full-fledged digitization quickly. Here are the four stages which an organization generally undergoes, while walking towards digital maturity:


Digital Infancy: Reaction

Recognize that your organization needs to make changes for digitally empowering itself. The first digital-maturity to-do list will be made at this stage.

At this stage, you will encounter pending tasks that would need to be listed and taken into consideration. These include a website revamping, brand-new marketing campaign, syncing customer support system with knowledge store.

The only aim at this stage is: recognize the changes which need to take place and identify the digital capacities you already have. Here is the to-do list for this stage:

  • Audit of current CMS (Content Management System): Some important questions to include in the audit-
  • Who leads the content creation team?
  • Who will review and approve the content?
  • Where will the content be placed?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • List the company priorities clearly:
  • What is the mission of company?
  • Who is our audience?
  • What is the goal of this digital maturity? What do you intend to achieve?
  • What is the timeline for company development as a whole?
  • What will measure the success of digitization?
  • Evaluation of current technical infrastructure:
  • Who owns the technologies?
  • Who uses these tools?
  • What is the type and amount of content they are storing?
  • How are the technologies connected to one another?

The answer to these questions will be the first baby-steps into digital maturity and will lay foundation for the shift. Get hold of the relevant technologies to fulfil the goals. Remove any unneeded tools. Let every department know and be trained in the tools they should be using. Integrate the tools within a system to allow constant content-flow between the departments and within the system. Allot a team to take care of setting up this system and get it running.

Keep an eye on the mission of your company, goals and make sure you sync every step with this.


Digital Childhood: Strategy

This is the time when you will be developing capacities to be used throughout the journey. Begin by creating customer personas and designing customer journeys. Make sure you correspond different types of content for varying stages of the journey.

Remember that every department offers content which could be used by the customers. Thus, the digital strategy has to spread across the organization and not simply one department. Here is the to-do list for this stage:

  • Bring a buy-in through the top. Involve the top-level executives in the process of digitizing.
  • Create a team to take care of the cross-organizational digitization. They will be handling content strategy within Communications, Sales, Customer Support, Marketing, Customer Service and IT. Every department will have its own needs and they must be well-represented within the team.
  • Let the team develop customer personas and declare the customer journey for each of these personas. You could begin by forming the journey in stages and eventually, integrate to get a panoramic view.
  • Once the stages have been mapped, you will have an idea of where the content is used and what it contains. You will be able to list all the people from each department involved in content development. Also, collect list of people who manage the channels of content and discuss the ways to better reach out to the target audience.

Till now, you have learned to build experiences which will fit into the customer experience and to take account of the already-available resources. With the above two steps, you should have gained the foundational skills for moving into the pre-maturity stage.


Digital Adolescence: Synthesis

At this stage, you will be carrying digital onto the unexplored territories of your company. This is possible only when the minimal condition of digital strategy is fulfilled. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can the sales program benefit from digital strategy?
  • In what other ways can your strategy enter the customer journey to create a holistic digital experience?
  • How do you integrate the CRM data into the process?
  • Can commerce be connected to the process?
  • Is it possible to set up a customer portal?

Make sure there is a common digital dashboard for every department where organizational content is shared. Every department will put up the content they create within this database for the ease of sharing and uniformity.


Digital Maturity: Optimization

The above three stages have made sure that digital is a common mode within your organization. The fourth and final stage of optimization is an endless learning program where you continually create new channels, cater them with new methods and functionalities.

As technology evolves, you will have to sync the movement with your digital strategy and make changes. Make sure you recognize the limitations of current strategy and plan the changes. It is ideal if there is a team that keeps check on the recent tools and informs the need for an update of digital strategy. The best format to observe, evaluate the current strategy and practice is to keep a periodical review sheet.


Evolution was a million-years process. We have managed to bring it digitally under countable numbers. Trust the process and don’t miss any stage. Strengthen your bones (through stage 1 and 2) before you put it into the war of digitals (competition with giants, ambitious company goals). Checkout our articles on digital transformation.


What are your strategies to leap into the digital end-point of maturity? Share your thoughts with us.

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Author : Sahana Rajan Date : 27 Sep 2016