Research - 29.04.2015 - 00:00 

Digital maturity of companies

The Institute of Information Management at the University of St.Gallen (HSG) examined the digital maturity of 162 companies. The Digital Transformation Report is available online. The detailed results will be presented on the occasion of the 4th St.Gallen Mobile Business Forum on Wednesday, 3 June 2015.


29 April 2015. The digitalisation of products and business models is changing enterprises. How professionally are Swiss firms dealing with this? Where are they using digital change as an innovation engine, and in what areas is action required?

The University of St.Gallen pooled forces with the strategy consultancy firm Crosswalk and a group of experts to develop a tool with which enterprises are able to check their digital maturity. The Digital Maturity Model is based on the St.Gallen Business Engineering Framework and records a firm’s digital development. The model is part of the Swiss Digital Transformation Initiative launched by the Institute of Information Management (IWI-HSG), the strategy consultancy firm Crosswalk and the Best of Swiss Web.

Survey of 162 firms

From November 2014 until February 2015, employees were asked online how they rated their companies’ digital maturity in the various areas of the model. In the process, data from 196 interviewees from 162 companies were recorded. 83 per cent of the interviewees worked in Swiss firms. The survey data served as a basis for the development of five degrees of maturity.

According to the survey, the Swiss Federal Railways were among the companies that showed digital maturity. The SBB were honoured with the Swiss Digital Transformation Award for their in-house digitalisation, as well as for their e-commerce activities and real-time dialogue with customers. The company equips all its employees with mobile terminal devices, and the CEO bears the strategic responsibility for digital transformation.

Technologies change business models
The study reveals that the overwhelming number of enterprises have already left the stage of “trying things out” behind and are tackling corporate digitalisation on the basis of plans. Interviewees are already using possibilities for flexible and mobile work. They display a certain willingness to run risks and are aware of the fact that digital technologies are subjecting previous business models to crucial change. Fields of action in which some catching up is still required, however, include the systematic integration of analytics into marketing communication, the automation of processes, as well as the definition and regular evaluation of measurable criteria of success.

Industries with an affinity for digitalisation

Whereas companies in the information and communication industries achieve the highest degrees of maturity, firms from the manufacturing industry and from public administration and from education are lowest on the scale. Traditionally rather conservative enterprises from the banking and insurance sector attain a comparably high degree of digital maturity because in those sectors, digital innovation is regarded as a crucial competitive edge.

Small and medium-sized enterprises occupy a very good position in comparison. In particular, they outdo the majority of big corporations in terms of culture and expertise. In transformation projects, this appears to be an advantage because the size and more flexible structure of such firms enable them to react to new circumstances at a faster pace. 

Bild: Photocase / FaroNK

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