Digital Transformation: A Foundational Capability Building Block Perspective on Maturing the IT Capability


  • Marian Carcary Mary Immaculate College
  • Eileen Doherty Ulster University



IT/digital capability, maturity model, IT/digital maturity, digital transformation, foundational capability building blocks


The enterprise-wide scope of an organisation’s IT capability in sustainably leveraging technology for business value is well-researched, and the level of maturity of this capability is a key determinant of an organisation’s success. IT capability maturity has become more critical as technological developments continue at an accelerated pace and as whole industries are being disrupted by digital developments. Maturity in terms of IT leadership, IT processes, IT infrastructure, and a myriad of other supporting organisation-wide capabilities is required. Since the 1980s, maturity models in the literature have focused on specialist niche areas, with few adopting a holistic perspective. Across these models, a lack of consensus is evident on the key capabilities that should be matured and on what the important sub elements or building blocks of these capabilities are. How does the organisation achieve an adequate level of maturity if the required capabilities are unclear? 


As one of the most holistic IT capability maturity models identified, this paper undertakes a systematic analysis of the 36 IT capabilities within IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF) and the 315 sub elements (Capability Building Blocks (CBBs)) that comprise these capabilities. This research aims to identify the common sub elements or building blocks inherent across the 36 capabilities, which we will refer to as Foundational Capability Building Blocks (FCBBs), and a high-level definition of these FCBBs abstracted from the relevant sub elements and discussed in terms of their recognised importance to effecting successful digital transformations. From an academic perspective, the research provides deeper insight on common themes that are pertinent to IT capability improvement. From an industry practitioner perspective, it breaks down the complexities of IT capability maturity with a focus on a manageable number of considerations.