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Digital initiatives are evolving at a dizzying pace. A Digital Maturity Assessment helps you find your bearings.

Kara Sprague Miniatur
Kara Sprague
Published April 14, 2021
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Next week (April 20–22), F5 will host Agility, an industry-leading virtual event for architects, engineers, and developers interested in improving how they deliver and secure superior digital experiences for customers.

On any journey, knowing where you are is just as important as knowing where you’re going. But for many companies on their digital transformation journeys, the past year was so full of on-ramps, express lanes, forks, and detours that they can no longer locate where they are on the carefully planned roadmap they started out with. In addition, their destination may well be different today from what it was 12 months ago.

In such a dynamic environment, it’s more important than ever for organizations to pause once in a while to get oriented and reassess their situation against their goals. What are your biggest strengths? What are the risks that keep you up at night? And where can improvements be made?

Continuing to operate with deficits and misalignments can create even bigger issues over time, such as technical debt and security risks. Technology will continue to evolve. Disruptions will continue to occur. Understanding and preparing for those moments can mean the difference between navigating change smoothly or being disrupted.

Taking Stock of Your Digital Maturity

It may sound daunting to dig into the many aspects of your application and technology programs and evaluate how they’re contributing to your digital transformation goals, but you can begin by looking at this in a number of key areas.

The first area to evaluate is the digital customer experience you are delivering. This means objectively measuring the performance of your organization’s omnichannel programs in engaging customers and keeping them coming back. Elements to explore include the end-to-end performance from the standpoint of the end user, such as application availability and responsiveness or latency, the effectiveness of personalization and machine-learning capabilities deployed, and the level of automation in the application infrastructure management and application monitoring processes.

The second area to evaluate is the experience of your organization’s developers and their ability to quickly deliver new application capabilities and digital experiences to market. Significant developer productivity can be unlocked through automation and integrations with developers’ preferred tooling. The most mature digital organizations have robust practices and capabilities in place around test automation, automated app deployment to production, and workflows and tools that insert policy closer to the developer. This approach removes lengthy iterations between developers and their NetOps and SecOps counterparts.

The next area to take a deep look at is the underlying technical architecture and how well it is enabling your organization to be more agile and flexible in responding to customer and market needs. As part of this exploration, it’s often helpful to narrow in on a few of your organization’s premier digital experiences and complete an end-to-end mapping of the technologies involved in delivering the experience to your end users. Oftentimes organizations can become so focused on delivering new business logic and features for end users that they overshoot their technical capacity to scale delivery and miss opportunities for integration, alignment, and simplification. Does your technical architecture reflect your business priorities? Where can technologies and tools be consolidated and rationalized, and operations simplified? What level of technical and operational debt are you carrying?

The final area to look at is the operating model of the organization, including the skill sets, practices, processes, and culture. This part of the assessment evaluates whether the right resources and capabilities are in place to execute your digital initiatives, whether your organization’s culture and practices are effectively supporting app delivery at the right scale, and whether governance processes are appropriately managing risk exposure.

The outcome of such an assessment will be unique for every organization. Some may decide to follow up by taking a deeper look at their org. structure to identify silos impeding efficiency and determine how those might be optimized. Other companies may uncover skills gaps that need to be addressed with training programs or recruitment. Still others may find technical architecture issues to address, either to better match their existing application portfolio or to give them more headroom for growth.

Objectivity and Expertise can Help in the Assessment Process

One big challenge in completing such assessments is that it can be difficult for an organization to perform one effectively on itself. Various stakeholders are often personally invested in different aspects of the organization’s technology investments. Teams have their own cultures and ways of operating. The organization may not have the experience or skill sets to spot where changes or improvements are needed most.

To help our customers get their digital bearings, F5 has synthesized our best thinking and best practices into a digital maturity assessment (DMA). A DMA is a method for looking across your organization’s application portfolio and examining processes and infrastructure to see what’s working and what could be improved.

F5 offers unmatched expertise in applications and a unique perspective to look deeply into all of these areas, having been directly involved in many digital transformation projects with customers from all industries and regions around the world. Our workshop teams bring that breadth of skill and depth of practical experience to each assessment session.

Interested in learning more about how F5 can help assess and accelerate your digital transformation? Register here for our Agility conference, where you can explore ways to build, manage, and secure multi-cloud applications. If you’re able to tune in for the Tuesday keynote session, I’ll be providing tips for maintaining a healthy application portfolio.

And, if you’re interested in partnering with F5 to conduct a DMA for your organization, you can contact Pam Dodge at p.dodge@f5.com