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The importance of digital maturity for Irish companies

Digitalisation is becoming increasingly accepted amongst leading businesses as essential to future growth

In an uncertain environment, the importance of digitalisation for companies is set to increase

In an uncertain environment, the importance of digitalisation for companies is set to increase


“Where would we be without the internet and our phones?” many of us have exclaimed over the past number of weeks, as we speak to our loved ones abroad or receive another arguably unnecessary delivery. 

Even before Covid-19, the internet was well entrenched in our lives, with almost 80 per cent of Irish people using it every day. Nowadays, it could easily be considered a basic human right, with everything from education to work, socialising to schooling, all taking place online.

Since March, the only stores most of us have stepped foot in have been supermarkets and pharmacies.  Consumers are visiting shops less and purchasing online more since the outbreak of Covid-19.

As daily life slowly returns to a new normal and until a vaccine is in place, we are still advised to wear face masks and keep our distance. For many of us, choosing the online option was always the first port of call, but for those of us who spent years avoiding it, its allure has certainly increased as safety is added to its list of benefits. 

This creates both an opportunity and a challenge for many companies who used their digital channel to complement or provide added support to their bricks and mortar store. Yes, geographical location may be less relevant and, by extension, there is an opportunity for many businesses to scale up or increase capacity. However, this new norm comes with fresh challenges. A well laid out store and friendly sales assistants can no longer help upsell one’s product like before. In fact, for many businesses, their online store may now be their only store and, therefore, their customers are going to expect a high level of digital maturity.

BearingPoint’s annual Digital Leaders Study assesses the digital maturity of companies, namely their ability to serve their customers through digital channels in relation to international best practice.  

In order to understand how digitally mature a company is, they are measured on 250 objective criteria across four dimensions;

  1. Digital marketing
  2. Digital product experience
  3. E-CRM 
  4. E-commerce

BearingPoint studied 55 leading companies across eight industries on a scale of 0-5 or “failed” to “outstanding”. The study was conducted externally, from an outside-in perspective, capturing the customers’ view. The results show that the digital maturity of companies in Ireland varies widely across the four dimensions and significant improvements can be achieved across all dimensions.

For any company forecasting an increased reliance on digital platforms, it is important to take a holistic approach across all four dimensions:

Digital marketing

In the age of information overload, it is important to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the products and services they are looking for. The digital marketing assessment is based on a company’s ability to reach potential customers and to lead them to the company websites with the help of display advertising, search engine marketing, the use of owned media and activity level on relevant social media accounts.

The BearingPoint study found:

  • The greatest variance between the digital maturities of different industries was in digital marketing
  • The banking industry was the most advanced in digital marketing, whereas food products and private hospitals ranked as joint lowest industries.

Digital product experience

How a company’s website is designed and how it promotes its products and services should be a centrepiece of any customer service strategy to give the consumer a positive digital experience. The digital product experience assessment evaluates companies’ websites’ functionality, design and content, especially from the aspects of product and brand experience across both mobile and desktop websites and applications.

The BearingPoint study found:

  • For the companies evaluated, digital product experience was the dimension where most companies scored highly. The overall standard deviation was also lowest here, in contrast to digital marketing which saw the largest differences between the companies evaluated
  • Overall, companies scored best in digital product experience.


In a digital and globalised world, companies in Ireland face tough competition from international competitors. The growth in the service economy, coupled with advancements in technology, means that there has been intensified competition for customers in a changing marketplace. The E-Commerce assessment evaluates a company’s ability to sell via digital channels, especially from the aspects of product presentation, purchasing process and sales support.

The BearingPoint study found:

  • E-commerce is an area for improvement across the board, with several low scoring companies and industries
  • Telco was the leading industry, whilst food products was bottom of the rankings in this dimension.


Well-implemented electronic customer relationship management (E-CRM) enables an easy and cost-efficient way for businesses to interact with their customers (and employees) through online-based technologies. The E-CRM assessment evaluates a company’s ability to maintain and expand its customer relationships in digital channels including customer service, cross-selling, customer engagement and personalisation.

The BearingPoint study found:

  • E-CRM is another area for improvement for companies in Ireland. With relatively low scores throughout, the banking industry emerged as the dimension leader.

Digitalisation was a popular buzzword in pre-Covid-19 times, and it is becoming increasingly accepted amongst leading businesses that being ‘digitally mature’ is essential to future business growth.  

Although many of us are especially grateful for the internet these days (despite the excessive Zoom quizzes and awkward conference calls), our increased reliance on the digital services does not look set to decrease anytime soon.

For information on the Digital Leaders Study 2020, visit For more information on BearingPoint, visit