The Tracker uses a five-point ‘maturity’ scale to assess how well you manage the digital elements of your activities. This scale is similar to that used in established business process maturity models. The five maturity levels are the same for all activities:

  1. Initial
  2. Managed
  3. Integrated
  4. Optimising
  5. Transforming

The description of what these different levels of digital maturity mean will vary between activities, but they always follow a standard set of principles that indicate increasing effectiveness at managing the digital elements of an activity. This approach gives an objective, consistent comparison across different activities. The standardised scoring also means you will quickly become familiar with the assessment method. 

The principles behind these five levels are explained below. 

The Five Maturity Levels

Level 1: Initial

Criteria: we have digital elements happening in this activity or we can when we need to.

Guidance: this is the most basic level of maturity. It means that your organisation does (or at least could have) digital elements happening in this area of activity. These digital elements might only happen sporadically, not be of good quality and may occur without any planning, monitoring or connection to your organisation’s overall objectives. It is enough simply that digital elements are happening or that you have demonstrated that you can make them happen when necessary. 

If your objectives mean that your activities should include digital elements, but you don’t currently have the capability for them to happen, then you should leave the question marked as “Applicable” but score this initial level as “Not yet achieved” (score: 0).

Level 2: Managed

Criteria: we plan and periodically review the digital elements in this activity, and they are appropriate for our organisation.

Guidance: now, as well as digital elements being able to happen, this level of maturity requires you to have a plan covering how and when they are going to happen. This plan needs to be subject to at least a basic, periodic review process, to ensure the digital elements are supporting what you are trying to achieve.

But note, at this level of maturity it is possible that the management of the digital elements is good but is happening in a silo. There may be no attempt to coordinate with other areas of the organisation, to standardise processes or to make sure the digital elements of activities are supporting your wider strategic objectives.

Level 3: Integrated

Criteria: the way we use digital elements in this activity is effective in delivering our strategy. Our processes and systems are standardised and, where appropriate, aligned with digital and non-digital activities in this and other areas.

Guidance: at this level of maturity, there should be a clear sense that the digital elements are contributing to your organisation’s strategic objectives and that plans are well aligned with other areas (including other teams or departments, where these exist). Additionally, this level of maturity requires that planning and prioritisation of digital and non-digital elements are coordinated. Digital elements should not be happening without reference to anything else. 

Level 4: Optimising

Criteria: we systematically gather and review evidence of the effectiveness of digital and non-digital elements in this activity, so we can improve our approach.

Guidance: for Level 2, it was sufficient that you have a basic, periodic review process. At Level 4, the requirement is much more robust. Decisions now need to be based on evidence of which elements of activities are effective and which less so. This evidence-based review should be used to continually improve your approach. It should also include both digital and non-digital activities. The objective is to have a balanced perspective, which recognises that digital options are not necessarily preferable to non-digital options. It is a sign of digital maturity to identify when a manual or offline approach might be better than the digital alternative.

Level 5: Transforming

Criteria: we are using digital elements in this activity to support significant innovation or substantial strategic change.

Guidance: Level 5 enables you to signal where, as well as being mature in terms of process, you are using digital elements to drive significant improvements in your organisation that have strategic value. Think of it as a form of “high priority” flag. Even a large and well-resourced organisation should not expect to mark more than a handful of activities as achieving or aiming at Level 5. For most activities, being well managed, integrated and continually optimising your approach (i.e. operating at Level 4) will be sufficient.  

A note on scoring

Finally, it is important to note that you don't have to fully meet the criteria of a lower level of maturity to be high performing at a higher level. For example, the digital elements of an activity can be well managed and optimised (e.g. scoring "2" at both level 2 and level 4) but not integrated with your organisation's strategy (e.g. scoring "0" at level 3).

This is one of the reasons the scoring system is not just a sliding scale. It has the flexibility for you to set scores independently for each level of maturity within the same activity. This allows you to show a more realistic and detailed view of the maturity progress you have already made or are targeting to make.

If you haven’t already, we recommend reading our Quick Guide to using the Tracker.

To understand the background to business process maturity models, please read more about this project.