Digital company – definition, maturity levels and tips for implementation

Published January 11, 2024

Dominik Schiller Inbound Marketing Manager d.velop AG

Thumbnail digital company

Companies are facing major challenges but of course also opportunities as a result of ongoing digitalisation. However, the nature of these challenges is not new. Even before digitalisation, old business models were replaced by new ones. Process optimisation or new production methods led to increased competition, as products and services could be offered more cheaply. Not constantly monitoring market developments and adapting the company accordingly was never a good decision. It is therefore not surprising that many companies are interested in implementing digital business models. This is because they have recognised the relevance of a digital company and the associated benefits.

But what exactly is a digital company, how does it differ from a non-digital company and what is the right path to take? We answer these and other questions in this blog article.

What is a digital company?

Digital companies come in different guises: From start-ups with digital services in which all employees work remotely to fully automated and digital craft businesses that require little human supervision.

The term digitalisation basically refers to the conversion of analogue values or media into digital formats. In the corporate context, this means using digital technologies to efficiently organise complex business processes and develop digital business models. New technologies are driving digital change and impacting all areas of the company.

Definition of a digital company

A digital company processes information within the company, but also across companies, largely digitally and without media disruptions. Suitable tools and methods, such as collaboration tools and digital factory tools (e.g. simulations, data management, knowledge management, visualisations), are used across all key processes throughout the company. In this context, a high level of maturity and a holistic approach are important in order to develop a favourable corporate culture.

Stages of the digital company

The digital maturity level of a company can be mapped in stages. There are various intermediate stages between manual processes without IT and a fully digitalised company, which are illustrated in the following graphic:

Let’s take a closer look. What really characterises a digital company?

What is the difference between a digital company and a non-digital company?

Basically, there is no black or white, but rather different levels of a company’s degree of digitalisation. All companies have processes that are supported by software to varying degrees, whereby the degree of digitalisation of the company corresponds to the sum of the degrees of digitalisation of its processes. This can be broken down into different levels. These levels illustrate the development from a completely analogue to a completely digital company.

It is clear that digitalisation is primarily dependent on the degree of digitalisation of internal structures and not necessarily on the products or services that the company offers. Nevertheless, there is sometimes a correlation between the digitalisation of a company and the degree of digitalisation of its product range. Digitalisation allows data skills to be built up, which also enables the development of digital products. A digital company is therefore advantageous in two aspects: it can launch new products on the market and also manufacture them more cost-efficiently.


Globalisation is progressing steadily, the market is developing and accelerating. At the same time, the battle for skilled labour is increasing and, depending on the industry, putting pressure on companies. In this context, the advantages of a digital company, just like the advantages of digitalisation itself, are obvious:

  • The digital company works faster, as digital processes and technologies shorten throughput and processing times.
  • Operations are more efficient when frictional losses and media disruptions are eliminated and processes and detours are minimised. Digitalisation is also accompanied by location independence and flexibility.
  • It is more adaptable because digital solutions are not static and can be adapted more easily to changing circumstances.


In principle, the digital company itself has no disadvantages. The actual disadvantages are, on the one hand, the lack of resources to digitise the company, whether in terms of personnel or finances. Smaller companies in particular face problems when it comes to digitalisation.

In some cases, there is also a lack of knowledge development and a failure to take employees along on the journey to becoming a digital company.

On the other hand, all the digitalisation of your own company is of no use if the environment is not right or the infrastructure is not in place. Be it due to a poor internet connection at the location or analogue companies along the supply chain.

The path to becoming a digital company

As mentioned at the beginning, many companies are suitable for complete digitalisation, but a digital company does not make sense for every business. You should check this carefully in advance and find the right path for your company. The following four points will help you with the implementation.

1. Status quo – determine maturity level

Make it clear to yourself what level of digitalisation your company already has. It is unrealistic to transform from the lowest level directly into a digital company. It is important to take a holistic view of the company and all processes.

The level of digital experience of employees within the company is also important. Depending on this, various motivational factors are important in order to bring all employees and management along on the journey.

2. develop a digitalisation strategy

A digitalisation strategy should be developed based on the company’s current level of digitalisation. By taking a holistic view of the company and developing a concept based on this, silo thinking is broken down and an overall picture is created.

As part of the strategy development process, you should consider whether it is even possible and expedient to become a fully digital company. Make it clear to yourself what goal you want to pursue with digitalisation and what level of digital maturity you are ultimately aiming for. Without a clear vision and strategy, the digitalisation project will remain vague and you may struggle with acceptance problems and resistance. The digitalisation strategy should therefore be clearly formulated and communicated within the company.

3. Find funding programmes

The federal and state governments offer various funding programmes for digitalisation. The initial costs make it difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular to get started with digitalisation. Therefore, funding programmes and grants as well as credits/loans are offered to enable investment in digital technologies and to improve digital business processes.

It may make sense to include funding opportunities as part of the strategic planning process.

4. Start digitalisation

Every company must decide for itself where it stands, where it wants to go and set out on the right path. The important thing is not to wait any longer. Once the first three steps have been completed, the journey to becoming a digital company can begin. Read our success stories to find out how d.velop has helped companies around the world to digitise.

Document management out of the box – Kick-start your digitalisation! 💻