Our last two emails talked about the two opposing forces of centralisation and decentralisation in marketing, and the importance of finding the balance. Boston Consulting Group’s digital maturity pathway suggests that the balance may be a matter of timing and digital maturity, rather than focus.
There are five stages of digital maturity:
- The lowest level of maturity is digitally opportunistic, where there are scattered projects going on, but nothing coordinated or at organisational level.
At the next stage, organisations start to centralise digital activity,
and it becomes established as a strategic priority.
- This is followed by a move towards a more hybrid approach, where there is still centralisation of major processes, and a central team guiding best practice, but supporting local execution.
- The fourth stage is decentralisation, when the central team only maintains control of areas that need economies of scale, and everything else is controlled by local teams.
- The final stage is one of embedded digital activity, when everyone is delivering across the organisation, and there is no need for central guidance—although some essential processes will be embedded centrally.
This map of digital maturity therefore suggests that centralisation is a necessary part of the process of becoming digital—and this will apply in marketing operations as much as anywhere else. Businesses need to go through that process of centralising control before the organisation can become mature enough to decentralise again, and give back control to those at local level.