Digital Organisation Characteristics

Rob Llewellyn By Rob Llewellyn

Digital Organisation Characteristics

Back in late 2014, the authors of Leading Digital described the digital organisation characteristics that helped some companies become Digital Masters. Fast forward to 2016 and more has been learned. But first let's reflect on some of the characteristics that have enabled digital masters to achieve high levels of profit, performance and productivity, while others, fell short of achieving such enviable outcomes.
Three statistics about Digital Masters disclosed in the book were:

  • Digital Masters are 26% more profitable than their average industry competitors
  • Digital Masters generate 9% more revenue with their existing capacity
  • Digital Masters report 36% higher skills in digital leadership than non-masters

Other revelations were that only 7% of digital initiatives were helping to launch new businesses, and that just 15% of companies had reported new business models to be emerging as a result of digital technology.
Fast-forward just over two years and while a lot has happened inside some organisations since then, the characteristics of Digital Masters are becoming clearer, as a result of further research.

Becoming a Digital Organisation: The Journey to Digital Dexterity

A team from MIT Sloan School of Management and Capgemini Consulting has been developing a paper which describes a core set of organisational characteristics (including mindsets, practices, workforce and resources) that underpin the enterprise development of Digital Capability. At the time of writing this article, the paper was last updated on 5 January 2016.
The authors explain that in order to build an enterprise for long term digital advantage, executives need to cultivate the unique set of digital organisation characteristics that enable both Digital Capability and Digital Dexterity.

Digital Capabilities, Dexterity and M-PWR

Three distinct take-aways from the paper include:

  1. A digital organisation embodies a unique set of characteristics that collectively enable digital capability and digital dexterity.
  2. Members of a digital organisation hold a distinct mindset reflecting a deep confidence in digitisation and an inclination to pursue digital solutions.
  3. A digital organisation reflects a set characteristics (M-PWR) that consist of Mindset, Practices, Workforce, and Resources. Together they help drive digital capability in the short term and digital dexterity in the long term.

The latest version of the paper describes the pieces of the puzzle and provides guidance for the journey to becoming digital.
Download Becoming a Digital Organization: The Journey to Digital Dexterity

Soule, Deborah L. and Puram, Akshita Deora and Westerman, George F. and Bonnet, Didier, Becoming a Digital Organization: The Journey to Digital Dexterity (January 5, 2016). Available at SSRN: