15 Jan Education the ‘most progressive sector’ in the race to digital maturity
Education is the most progressive sector in terms of making the transition from a state of digital transformation to digital maturity, according to research from Coleman Parkes, commissioned by Ricoh, back in July 2014. Digital maturity is where an organisation uses sophisticated tools to drive performance and demonstrates an on-going commitment to technology, technology-led initiatives and digitally managed processes. The findings reveal that more education leaders see digital maturity as a key priority (80 per cent) than representatives from other sectors. They are also confident that they can reach digital maturity within the next two years, with 34 per cent believing they will accomplish the move by 2016 and 71 per cent expecting to have achieved the goal by 2019.
Respondents singled out cost as a significant obstacle, with 48 per cent considering it as the biggest barrier to achieving digital maturity. This perhaps reflects the fact that the education sector is often subject to the greatest constraints on expenditure as it faces the daily need to balance limited budgets across investing in people, facilities and technology.
Reflecting the importance of digital to competitive advantage, senior teams in education are likely to be engaged with digital activities, with 62 per cent concerned and interested in keeping operations digitally mature. However, the education sector also has one of the lowest percentages of respondents who have a clear vision for achieving digital maturity (71 per cent), with only the Public Sector having fewer.
This lack of clarity may be down to a greater reliance on internal expertise than other sectors. The research reveals that education leaders are more likely to say that working with an expert external partner would be critical to achieving maturity.
Further hurdles illustrate the ongoing difficulties education leaders face in bringing a workforce with varying degrees of technology literacy into the digital age and the critical importance of leaders communicating a clear vision. Almost half (48 per cent) said that educating all business functions of the benefits of digital was an obstacle to achieving digital maturity, while 43 per cent cited changing the way work is carried out to keep up with new technology already in place.
The importance attached to digital maturity is likely linked to the opportunity that digital is providing to attract new students through enhanced classroom and online learning experiences. When compared to other vertical sectors**, education has the largest number (23 per cent) of respondents seeing a stronger competitive edge as the number one benefit of becoming digitally mature. Other top ranked benefits include:
– Improved business processes (19 per cent)
– Easier access to information (17 per cent)
– Less time required to complete tasks (12 per cent)