When I described what is a product, I also described the 3 types of companies that can own digital products and the impact of the type of the company on the role of the product manager in the organization that owns the product:
When presenting this classification to a product leadership coaching customer during an in-company training session, they pointed out that they were investing a lot in their digital transformation to become a digital company but, according to this classification, they will never be digital, since this classification does not allow for any movement between categories.
This is true, this classification talks about the type of a company in terms of its nature, i.e., how it was conceived and what is its primary product or service. The only way a company can be more digital in this classification is by creating new businesses. For instance, Amazon, a born-digital store, created AWS (Amazon Web Services), a new business to offer technology infrastructure as a product, which makes AWS a digital company. On the other hand, Amazon also build physical stores and that didn’t made them more traditional, they continue to be a born-digital store. Another interesting example is Itaú, the biggest bank in Brazil, which is investing a lot in its digital transformation and recently launched iti by Itaú, their born-digital bank and íon by Itaú, their born-digital investment platform. These are new born-digital businesses, but Itaú is still Itaú, a traditional bank.
So, besides the type of the company, we also need to understand its digital maturity, which means how much the company has been investing in digital products to potentialize its results and how much the results have been actually potencialized by digital efforts.
For instance, Itaú has matured a lot in terms of using digital to potentialize its results. The creation of iti and íon are good examples but, besides that, I’m an Itaú customer since they acquired BankBoston operations in Brazil back in 2006 and I’m do everything that I need from a bank using their digital channels. Another good example is Lopes consultoria de Imóveis. Lopes is the biggest real estate company in Brazil, a company founded in 1935 that made a follow-on offering in the stock market in late 2019 to raise funds to invest in their digital transformation. I.worked at Lopes between 2020 and 2022 leading this digital transformation and learning a lot in this journey. During this period we were able to go from 40% of sales coming from digital to more than 55% of the total sales. We were able to build digital products to solve the problems not only of the people who wanted to buy a house, but also for people selling a house like data science property valuation and brokers, who received better leads, more aligned with their experience and knowledge, increasing their conversion rate. So we can say that both Itaú and Lopes are digitally mature companies.
We may think that discussing the digital maturity of company only makes when we are talking about traditional companies. Afinal, born-digital as well as pure digital companies are digitally native, right?
Wrong! I’ll provide 3 examples that shows that born-digital and digital companies can have low digital maturity:
In order to improve its digital maturity, no matter if it is a traditional, a digital or a born-digital traditional company, these companies need to:
Here’s how you can assess the digital maturity of a company.
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