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Recent Blogs

  • Digital Maturity & Transformation

    There are many articles/posts that have been written about Digital transformation. Often these feel as if they are trying to impart some secret sauce or recipe that will enable an organisation to succeed at Digital Transformation. However, these often miss a key point.

    Just as William Gibson said, “The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed”, similarly every organisation is already at a different stage on the journey toward Digital Maturity. Each organisation has a unique blueprint and context that means you cannot simply apply a checklist, recipe or copy what another organisation is doing and achieve successful transformation. Journey is the key word here, and as with any journey you need to start from an understanding of where you are to inform where you want to get to and how to get there.

    When starting a Digital transformation journey, it is crucial to know where you are starting as the next steps that your organisation needs to take will vary on their existing maturity and context.

    At Mosaic Island, we find an assessment of Digital maturity is an important first step for organisations thinking about Digital transformation. Our Digital Maturity Assessment identifies areas of challenge and opportunity, of relative strength and weakness and provides your organisation with clear areas of focus and improvement

    This post is the 1st in a series of about the value of understanding your organisation’s Digital Maturity when undertaking Digital business transformation, including what it is, how to measure it and how an understanding of your organisation’s Digital maturity is key to successful Digital initiatives.


    What is Digital?

    Before we start to discuss Digital maturity, its worth taking a moment to define what Digital actually is. Ex-GDSer Tom loosemore’s definition, is probably the best and most succinct definition of what Digital is:

    “Applying the culture, practices, processes & technologies of the Internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations.” Tom Loosemore

    Whilst this high-level definition is a good starting point it still introduces concepts (Culture, Practice, Process, Technology, Expectations) that need further definition, as it stands 100 people could agree with this definition and you might still get 100 different answers as to what Digital is in practice.

    In the rest of this post we will go into a bit more detail as to what, at Mosaic Island, we believe Digital is as a pre-cursor to starting to discuss Digital maturity in the forthcoming blog posts.


    Raised Expectations

    Customer expectations are raised by their (and their peer’s) interactions with exemplar Digital organisations. Customer experiences are now easily shared, on both global and hyper-local scale, every interaction with a customer is now an opportunity for public customer advocacy or admonishment. This phenomenon is not limited to your organisation’s customers, the same is true within your organisation, the same forces at play that increase customer expectations influence your colleagues. If you can’t meet or exceed the expectations of your colleagues how do you expect your colleagues to meet or exceed the expectations of your customers?

    There are some common features of the ‘raised expectations’ of people:

    Immediacy, the expectation for immediate response, feedback and satisfaction from achieving their desired outcome from an interaction with your organisation. This is not say say all customers expect immediate gratification from any interaction with your organisation’s products and services, what it does mean is that immediacy is now the benchmark against which your product or service will be judged. If your customer cannot understand a valid, logical reason for a delay in achieving satisfaction then you will not meet their expectations.

    Ease, the expectation that the journey for the customer to achieve satisfaction is a frictionless as possible.

    Valuable personalisation, the expectation that the organisation understands the individual customer and tailors product/service delivery based on that understanding.

    Dynamic customer journeys, the expectation that the organisation has done the hard work of designing flexible support to deliver against customer needs that may require divergence from the organisation’s view of the optimal journey.

    Each of these features of a raised expectations have implications for how Digital organisations strategize, organize, design and deliver.



    Digital organisations have recognized that the raised expectations of customers and colleagues necessarily drives the need for a different type of culture. The culture of a Digital organisation optimises for:

    Experimentation and learning, Digital organisations recognise that in order to be agile and responsive to their customers and marketplace they need to experiment and learn as quickly as possible. This requires a culture that accepts failure as part of the learning process and that adopts practices that speed up the feedback loop from idea to success/failure.

    Openness and collaboration, Digital organisations understand that the design, delivery and improvement of a service is best delivered by diverse multi-disciplinary teams, working in the open, together. Digital organisations remove physical, digital, organisational and cultural barriers to openness and collaboration.

    Trust and empowerment, Digital organisations realize that optimising for organisational agility and learning depends on optimising decision making, this means pushing decision making as close to the source of problems, challenges and opportunities as possible. Decentralizing and democratizing decision making is predicated on a culture that promotes trust, responsibility and empowerment within its organisation.



    The ability for an organisation to respond to people’s raised expectations depends on it adjusting its working practices to focus on understanding user need and learning through experimentation.

    User need, Digital organisations develop their capabilities and working practices to ensure they understand user need and use that understanding to design and improve their products and services.

    Iteration, Digital organisations adopt practices (e.g. Agile, Service Design) that bake in iteration, feedback and learning into the design, delivery and improvement of products and services

    Multi-disciplinary teams, Digital organisations understand that teams do not equal ‘people with the same skills as me’. Digital organisations adopt working practices that are centred around enabling the coming together and collaboration of experts in multiple disciplines to design, deliver and improve the organisation’s products and services.



    Automation to optimise personal impact, internal and customer processes are automated, but not as an end in itself. Automation is used as a tool to free up resources and colleagues to maximise the value and impact of personal interactions between colleagues and customers.

    Adaptable and Emergent, Digital organisations accept that any current process is only the current best iteration of that process that has been discovered and that as the organisation experiments and learns, new, better versions of the process will be discovered. With this in mind current processes are only viewed as the current prototype of a process, the final iteration of which may never be achieved.



    In the context of our definition of Digital, the role of technology is in enabling Digital organisations to meet or exceed the raised expectations of its customers and colleagues through supporting the necessary cultural, practice and process changes.

    The implications for those responsible for a Digital organisation’s technology landscape is that it they will need to have answers to the following questions:

    • How does your organisation’s technology enable the creation and use of insight?
    • How does your organisation’s technology enable the capture and management of user need and surfacing of personalization through your customer journeys?
    • How does your organisation’s technology enable experimentation and learning?
    • How does your organisation’s technology enable automation in order to optimise personal impact?
    • How does your organisation’s technology enable collaboration across team and organisational siloes and inter organisational boundaries?
    • How does your organisations technology deliver accessible, timely and accurate data and information to its customers and colleagues



    In this post we have explored what Digital is and what its high level implications are for organisations. In the next post, having discussed what Digital is, we will discuss what Digital Maturity is, how we might measure organisations and what parameters are significant in determining Digital Maturity.

    At Mosaic Island we have used our experience in delivering Digital Business Transformation across industries, to develop a Digital Maturity Model and Assessment. Designed to ensure you are doing the right things.

    If you are looking to take your Digital shift to the next level, then this could be for you. Please email enquiries@mosaicisland.co.uk for more information.


  • If there’s one thing the IT world is renowned for, it’s jargon. Technical corporate-speak so impenetrable, that it could short-circuit an enigma machine.

    Take ‘enterprise architecture’. One of those phrases where the words make sense on their own, but morph into Swahili the moment you combine them.

    So let’s take them one at a time. Enterprise just means ‘business’ and architecture is another word for ‘design’. In the world of IT, this is all about designing how all your technology fits together, across your whole business, in one handy map. So, enterprise architecture is just a posh way of saying ‘map’.

    And that’s one of the things we do here at Mosaic Island. We love making maps of technology. We love learning about how different businesses work, and giving people a bird’s eye view of how all their technology and processes need to fit together to make their organisation run as efficiently and profitably as possible, so they can delight their customers and grow their business. In short, we just love it when a plan comes together!

    Who does enterprise architecture?

    The practitioners - Enterprise Architects - are a curious hybrid of technical competence and commercial business acumen. Their job is to give all your technology, systems and processes the best chance of running properly, to meet the needs of your business – not the needs of your IT department. They want to know ‘what does your business need to do?’ and ‘what might your business need to do in the future?’. Only then, do they talk to you about IT. They are the chief cartographers of your technology, and they show up with their business hat firmly on.

    So why does enterprise architecture matter?

    Enterprise architecture (EA) is one of those things where the better it works, the more invisible it is. So, because it’s all about the structure and flow of a business, you tend to get the symptoms of struggling architecture in other business areas when it’s actually the EA that’s failing. For example, nobody ever says ‘this enterprise architecture is so badly put together!’ - well, except for an Enterprise Architect of course!

    You’re more likely to hear things like ‘why don’t these systems talk to each other?’ (your Ops Director); ‘Why is it so hard to report on customer insight?’ (your Marketing Director) or; ‘Why do I have to explain my problem from scratch each time I talk to someone new?’ (your customers).

    Sound familiar? Let’s look at each problem to understand more.


    Examples of some common business issues, and how EA can help

    ‘Why don’t these systems talk to each other?’

    Chances are, they were set up at different times, trying to solve their own individual problems. And the team that commissioned the first system probably had no idea some other team might need this second system for the other stuff they were doing. So when the time came for the two to interact, guess what? They couldn’t do it, because the business was expecting its technology to do something it was never designed to do. The individual teams didn’t have access to the bigger picture. So you end up with manual workarounds or technical ‘bodges’ that are sticking plaster solutions.

    Well-devised EA looks at everything the business needs to do, anticipating where things may need to interact or evolve – and planning flexibility into the technology structure, so it’s less painful to get two systems talking further down the line. 

    ‘Why is it so hard to report on customer insight?’

    Digital data has increased at a rate that few have been able to keep up with. For many organisations this information can’t be effectively captured or used on yesteryear’s technology. Since the technology can’t cope, there’s no proper process in place anyway – making insight projects painfully ad-hoc or even abandoned part-way through. This puts the brakes on the the CMO’s insight strategy and stops the business from making informed, profitable decisions based on evidence.

    A proper EA approach factors in what an organisation needs to know about its customers; what form this information takes and how it can be captured and analysed effectively. The EA will have conversations with all the main business stakeholders to understand where their roles fit into the wider objectives. 

    ‘Why do I have to explain my problem from scratch each time I talk to someone new?’

    Your business is segmented into departments that take care of a specific group of internal activities – and they’ve each got their own systems, data access and processes. But if your internal systems are too separate, it’s only a matter of time before it negatively impacts on your customers.

    Imagine walking into a store to ask about changing your mobile phone contract, only to be told you must ring the call centre, because they are the only ones with access to that system. And then when you call, you get passed across several departments, each operator asking you to explain your query from the start. 

    Good EA takes the customer journey into account when planning out systems. And this includes how customer data is stored, accessed and moved around a business. In fact, understanding how your customers interact and transact with you is discussed before anyone starts getting technical. That way, the focus is on how the whole customer experience should work, not how individual tools need to operate.

    Enterprise architecture can make a real impact on your business

    You can begin to see the impact that EA can have across a whole business, internally and externally. And how it can often be the root cause of seemingly unrelated issues. Get it right and it can transform how a business operates. Get it wrong – or worse still, fail to invest in it at all – and you’ll struggle to tackle the root cause of troublesome problems.

    Want to know more?

    We know loads about enterprise architecture and we’ve been fixing business problems like these for years. Why not take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped others.

  • Mosaic Island Spotify Self-Directing Teams

    Self-Directing Teams still need Direction

    Tony Walsh

    Self-Directing teams

    In our white paper ‘The Business Model is Broken, What Now?’ we explored the importance of an ‘enabling’ IT Strategy.  Such a strategy underpins the changing shape of ‘connected’ digital businesses as they explore and exploit new Customer, Delivery and Leadership relationship models. 


    In our white paper ‘The Business Model is Broken, What Now?’ we explored the importance of an ‘enabling’ IT Strategy.  Such a strategy underpins the changing shape of ‘connected’ digital businesses as they explore and exploit new Customer, Delivery and Leadership relationship models. 

    A core feature of the transformed digital business encompasses the connected delivery organisation whose sole purpose is to meet unfulfilled customer needs. Operating in aligned, self-directing teams or networks, they function best when underpinned by enabling leadership teams that focus on communicating problems to be solved, not handing out detailed tasks for completion. 


    Spotify Mosaic Island Self-Directing teams


    Spotify tackle this aspect of the connected business model very succinctly in the following two videos. I recommend them for those who want a better understanding of one organisation’s battle to stay ahead of the competition and closer than ever to their customers. This is however only part of the story…

    You can view the videos at the following links

    Part 1


    Part 2


    and download our white paper on this topic from  'Our Insights' section.