Delaware Consulting maps the digital maturity of Belgian companies

Mar 12, 2015
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Kortrijk, 12 March 2015  – Delaware Digital, the digital team of Delaware Consulting, has just published the results of a digital maturity survey amongst Belgian enterprises. At the request of Delaware Digital, the Antwerp-based Karel de Grote-Hogeschool questioned 213 large, mid-sized and small Belgian companies about their digital efforts and what they consider as the main challenges of the digital transformation. “This survey is a first,” says Olivier Verberckmoes, partner of Delaware Digital. “This is the first Belgian assessment of digital maturity in all its aspects.” 


Digitally immature

International research has shown that the higher a company’s level of digital maturity, the better its chances of survival and success. “Digitization brings us back to the very core of sales and marketing, which puts the customer experience first. By understanding, pleasing, engaging with and serving their customers, companies can keep an edge on their competitors. There is ample technology available these days to help them do so. The organizations that manage to successfully deploy that technology, put it at the service of the consumer and combine it with the right corporate culture, are tomorrow’s winners,” Olivier Verberckmoes continued. As appears from the survey by Delaware Digital, however, this digital transformation is quite challenging for Belgian companies.

Belgium still has a long way to go on the digital highway. Only 44% of the respondents to the survey, for example, have a responsive website, while they know perfectly well that the future – or, in fact, even the present – is mobile. 76% of the companies questioned have at least one social media account, yet only 28% really communicate with their customers. The lack of resources appears to be a major obstacle in all this: only 5% of the survey participants have their own community manager and barely 10% have their own digital department. Everyone is, however, convinced that digital is key: 90% of the respondents confirmed that their digital efforts will increase within the next two years. 

From ‘laggards’ to ‘leaders’

The Karel de Grote-Hogeschool surveyed both large and small companies. According to their level of digital maturity, i.e. their digital efforts and internal organization, the respondents were divided into four categories. Almost 62% of them appeared to be a ‘Digital laggard’ – a company that has taken little to no digital initiatives yet. Small companies tend to fall into this category or are classified as ‘Digital operators’, i.e. they have taken their first steps towards digitization. The ‘Digital campaigners’ are large or small companies that have enthusiastically embraced the digital revolution but don’t yet have a digital vision in place. The 13% ‘Digital leaders’ are mostly large companies. Though, there too, there is a substantial amount of hesitation.

Cautiousness amongst large and small

Both large and small firms fear the technological challenges and are struggling with security, privacy and spam issues. In addition, they fear that they may lose physical contact with their customers as a result of the digital economy. “We assume that a lot of companies are looking at their direct competitors, in their industry. They take no initiatives off their own bat. As long as their peers don’t move and innovate, they don’t take any steps either,” Verberckmoes pointed out. 

Retain market clout

The survey results confirm the experience of Delaware Digital: “Every day, we see how the digital tsunami washes over Belgian companies. Our enterprises are in doubt and have lots of questions. But if they don’t embrace the digital revolution, they will lose their market clout. Our economy might even suffer if our entire country is lagging behind. By conducting this survey, we wanted to open doors and let people think critically about the importance of digital maturity, so that we can gear up for the future. Now is the time to put things straight and make the switch.”