The Six Stages of Digital Transformation

From “business-as-usual” to genuine innovation, uncommon growth comes from following a clear roadmap.

For companies faced with the prospect of “Digital Darwinism,” the hardest part is evaluating what needs to be changed first. In this research report, we’ve created a maturity model that helps companies assess exactly where they are, and where they need to be on the road to digital transformation.

After several years of interviewing those helping to drive digital transformation, we have identified a series of patterns, components, and processes that form a strong foundation for change. We have organized these elements into six distinct stages:

  • Business as Usual
  • Present and Active
  • Formalized
  • Strategic
  • Converged
  • Innovative and Adaptive

Collectively, these phases serve as a digital maturity blueprint to guide purposeful and advantageous digital transformation. Our research of digital transformation is centered on the digital customer experience (DCX) and thus reflects one of many paths toward change. We found that DCX was an important catalyst in driving the evolution of business, in addition to technology and other market factors.

This report introduces each of the six stages as a self-contained phase, offering a narrative and a checklist to guide your journey. While presented in a linear format, our research shows that companies may span multiple stages at once depending on their goals, resources, and overlapping initiatives. Use this framework to validate, benchmark, and map your company’s progress toward digital literacy and leadership, but know that you may find yourself revisiting and overlapping stages throughout program and strategy deployment.

To make this more actionable, we’ve identified six key elements within the organization that must undergo a simultaneous transformation, Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance and Leadership, People and Operations, Technology Integration, Digital Literacy.

By examining the progression of transformation for each of these elements separately, the framework makes it easy for individual stakeholders within the company to focus only on the areas they are managing. For example, a COO could focus on People and Operations, while the CTO can focus on technology, with the CIO focusing on Digital Literacy. By laying out the plan for each department, it becomes much more manageable for a company to execute smaller plans that service the digital transformation effort as a whole.


Transformation efforts require many changes in multiple areas, often happening simultaneously. Even organizations that see themselves as far along in the transformation process need constant audits to progress, making sure each move ladders up to power the growth strategy.

Download the free report.