International Data Corporation (IDC) believes that organisations that develop, implement, and successfully execute a holistic digital commerce strategy will capture and maintain competitive advantage.

A new IDC MaturityScape report provides senior leadership with a framework to assess the maturity level of their digital strategy, define the digital commerce needs and goals of their organisation, and understand the key components of digital commerce across all dimensions in their organisation.

Digital commerce refers to the interactions between and among multiple parties, enabled by 3rd Platform technologies (cloud services, analytics, mobile, social, robotics, or next-generation security technologies), for the purposes of exchanging content and goods for other forms of value like payments.

Digital commerce can be used to discover business opportunities, formulate offers, sell and deliver products and services online or in physical locations.

However, digital commerce is much more than simply having a pleasing online experience or mobile app. It involves the seamless interaction of systems, data, and humans to achieve consistent and truly holistic commerce experience.

“In the digital era, customers, which include consumers, businesses, employees, and partners, look for interactions with commerce partners in ways that limit friction, are empowering, and deliver an exceptional experience,” says Vanessa Thompson, research vice-president: communities and collaboration at IDC.

“Participants in digital commerce have high expectations for marketing and transacting and a low tolerance for poor marketing, pricing, and selling approaches. The notion that we can transact wherever and whenever we like is accelerating customer response expectations and lightweight commerce approaches, like conversational commerce, will soon become pervasive.”

To help business leaders assess the current state of their digital strategy, IDC provides a description of and the business outcomes for five stages of maturity: Ad Hoc, Opportunistic, Repeatable, Managed, and Optimized.

In turn, each stage is built upon four key dimensions: People, Process, Technology, and Vision.

By evaluating the dimensions in each stage, business leaders can better determine how far along their digital strategy is as well as their organisation’s strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.

Delivering a modern and flexible platform for digital commerce should be a priority and success requires that each dimension of the model be openly addressed.

“Digital commerce is continuously being defined and reinvented by 3rd Platform technologies, and while there is an extremely important role that technology can play in competitive differentiation, technology alone will not guarantee success,” notes Thompson.