Measuring digital debt, the consequence of a poor or insufficient digital strategy, can be tricky for even the most careful insider. It’s all too easy for internal biases or blind spots to affect the examination and assessment process when evaluating a company’s digital debt. For those without the proper breadth of experience and understanding of changes in modern technology, gaps can arise that limit a proper holistic determination of the digital debt and how it most likely affects the organization. It is critical to have a trusted partner to perform an unbiased and comprehensive audit. A dedicated, proven framework for assessment, interview, and examination, will allow external assessors to find hidden pitfalls and risks, and to look at things in a different light.
However, even once digital debt has been identified and classified, it’s only the beginning of the process. Not all debt is equal, and the best plans consider exactly where the business is trying to go before thinking about which areas of debt to address. That’s why the Digital Debt Index™ is so valuable. We start with a diagnostic evaluation tool like JointStrike™ to identify all of the various areas of digital debt in an organization, broken down by our 8 main areas:
The next step is to create a unified measure of Digital Debt that’s reflective of the organization’s specific business case. It begins when Apexon maps an organization’s identified goals into a weighted prioritization ranking. For example, a B2C company focused on top-line growth would likely give the highest prioritization to Customer Engagement, Data, and Content, with the other 5 areas split over lower priorities; hundreds of combinations of weights have been pre-mapped and are examined for the best fit to the unique business case. These priorities then serve as the foundation for the second step.
Here the JointStrike™ ratings and the prioritized rankings come together summing the results into a single Digital Debt Index (DDI)™ rating, an overall measure of the amount of digital debt accumulated by the organization in that given setting, typically ranging from 17-255. As the organization changes its goals, or executes remediation activities, their Digital Debt Index™ rating changes.
Most businesses are restricted by their limited funding and time constraints. In this case, a DDI rating will provide a customized recommendation list to help businesses become successful with the least path of resistance. Further, this rating can provide an elusive “apples to apples” comparison of companies across portfolios, across industries, and across different timespans. Such a comparison is a powerful tool.
Apexon has seen time and again that companies with lower Digital Debt Index™ scores are more successful than their peers with higher scores. What’s more, the proprietary weighting of the Digital Debt Index™ rewards companies that improve areas which are their weakest and most strategic areas first, while recommending cutoffs to investments other areas to continue ensuring a maximum ROI. In this way, a company can utilize DDI to guide their investment strategy, and to utilize the JointStrike™ efforts in a more structured and methodical way to lead to record success.