The first level concentrates on learning what digital means to your organization initially and how you might expect it to match your organizations needs for better customer relationships, real time business operations improvements or new products and services. Typically organizations select a small number of digital technology combinations that offer promise and experiment with them in a "sandbox like" environment where failure can happen without consequences.
Once enough experimentation and early "in organization" innovation has taken place, there will be a new confidence in the ability to deliver results with the new skills, guidelines, methods, tools and technologies to look for opportunities to deliver benefits. It is important to link the strengths of the new digital prowess with proper business needs that will deliver real benefits. This will give a wider sense of confidence when benefit delivery happens in a regular fashion. In fact it is at this level that plans for incremental transformation should be drafted, if they haven't already.
At this level, there are several successes. Each one should be measured for results and looked at for lessons learned. Out of these experiences, your organization can identify both better and best practices for future digital efforts. This is where better transformation plans can be created or tuned to make sure business results can be optimized from digital efforts. There will be an expansion of skills and competencies during this level. This is essential before spreading digital far and wide.
Now is the time for accelerated results with larger scopes of impact and inclusion. This is where rapid growth and expansion of digital features can take root. This is where digital is at the viral stage and the biggest problem will be to set priorities as to where the digital resources will be leveraged. In addition there will be a need for mass adaption and skills transfer. This is the level where you look to get better in anticipation of the next level.
This is where you use digital as a weapon and aggressively attack your digital transformation efforts. Your organization will be looking to outflank the competition, start new services, deliver new products and maybe even change or create a new business model.
Keep in mind there may be several threads of digital efforts running in concurrently that could leverage this maturity model, but the real benefit of the model is to measure a wide scope inside your organization. Remember that digital speeds things up considerably and some efforts will leap through the levels quickly on smaller scopes, but there have been efforts to deliver new business opportunities leaping up through the levels.