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Digital leaders are customer-centric, focused on providing excellent customer journeys. They manage to turn data into value, and they have a digital leadership that ensures the right priorities, capabilities and momentum.

The launch of the third Digital Leaders Study in Norway comes at a critical time, as many companies are struggling with how to deal with digitalization, and especially how to turn digital solutions into real value for their customers and stakeholders.

The purpose of the report is to recognize and establish an understanding of Norwegian companies’ digital maturity. The report considers each company’s digital presence and areas for development, as well as appraising their strengths as a means of recognition for other companies to follow.

The main study evaluates 78 of the most influential Norwegian companies from 10 industries, based on 256 objective criteria and across six dimensions: digital marketing, digital product experience, e-commerce, e-CRM, mobile and social media.

This year, we have also included a separate section with 11 public organizations. Due to the inherent differences between the private and public sector, the main study and public section are evaluated based on different criteria. The two sections also have different scales to avoid unfair comparison. Three of the public organizations fit naturally within selected industries in the main study and are included in both sections.

All the evaluations have been made from an outside-in perspective and as close to a customer point of view as possible. This is an important clarification, as the results do not consider any ongoing improvement initiatives or the fact that companies may have well-founded strategic reasons for not prioritizing certain areas.

However, based on our experience of working with hundreds of organizations during their digital transformation, poor performances in the examined dimensions often indicate a need for a more structured digital approach. Too often, we find that companies initiate separate and independent digital initiatives without aligning these to an overall digital vision, strategy and roadmap.

The report highlights that only a few companies perform well across more than one or two dimensions. This is worth noting, as normally, most of the dimensions are important in a company’s ability to offer good experiences throughout the whole customer journey. Our findings may indicate that the companies lack an overall digital strategy and approach to how they can create synergies between different initiatives. It may also be a symptom of organizational challenges and poor execution.

The report does not examine how companies use customer data for internal purposes and decision making. However, the results indicate that most companies do not use data to offer consistency, real-time fulfilment or personalized treatment across channels and dimensions. Customers expect service providers to have automated access to all the data they have provided and not to ask the same questions over and over again. They expect to be able to move seamlessly between platforms, regardless of time and place. And they expect it to happen now. As many companies are struggling to meet these expectations, potential entrants can disrupt their market through rapid delivery of digital solutions, advanced algorithms and full access to information.

So, how do the public organizations perform? Comparing the criteria that are identical for both the main study and the public section, it is notable that the public organizations with services that are subject to competition perform significantly better than organizations with non-competitive services. It is also worth noting that private companies outperform public organizations in customer service. Users of private and public services are essentially the same, and there is no reason why they would have different expectations and needs related to who the service provider is.

Norwegian companies perform slightly better than in last year’s study, but there is still significant room for improvement. To be able to improve and keep up with their European peers, they need to take a strategic approach to digitalization, focus on the customer journeys and succeed in turning data into value.