WONDERFUL CHANGE: Change the World with Digital Business Transformation

Dieter Reichert, CEO, Censhare AG
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Dieter Reichert, CEO, Censhare AG

Markets are changing rapidly. Companies have always had just one chance: they have to face this change actively. Otherwise they will disappear. However, this is not achieved merely with a creative idea. Customers have to be focused, technology has to be implemented and employees have to be integrated.  

At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 2014, Porsche Manager Müller dismissed the vision of cars driving autonomously as being hype.  

“All measures involved in digital transformation can help to demonstrate, optimize and shape tasks, processes, and people involved more transparently”

This is how it went for many innovations. For example, when Thomas Edison presented his light bulb, the President of the Stevens Institute of Technology raved that the plan was doomed to fail. Similar prognoses were given to the invention of the railway (too fast for the human organism), the telephone (too complicated), the television (nobody wanted to stare at a box for the whole evening), the car (superfluous) or the computer (for which there was no market). All the inventions and improvements which have changed our society long term, have turned markets upside down and made traditional things unnecessary.  

While to a huge extent production technology was automated, and therefore production processes accelerated and capacities increased during industrialization, the turning point which accompanies the opportunities of the digital age is possibly much more profound. And opponents are emerging at the same rate as that with which the changes are taking place. Sometimes these are the experts, the entrepreneurs, customers, employees or the media. Everyone seems to fear change like the plague.  

Digital transformation – a process which was initiated with the invention of the computer and became established with the spread of the World Wide Web – marked the transfer of analogue and linear business models into the digital world or at least into digital distribution. Instead of printed books, e-books are on offer. Films are no longer rented in the form of videos, but are ‘streamed’; the buyer can conveniently compare and purchase products and services from the office or from home. Decisions are influenced and made on the basis of search engine results or recommendations from social media.  

Companies have to make arrangements in order to be able to offer digital services, products or content.

The following technologies are used for this: with Digital Asset Management, companies can organize media assets, profiles, addresses, appointments and much more. Content Management takes care of the creation of contents. In connection with Business Process Management all processes can be simply modeled. Here, tasks, appointments, resources and comprehensive controlling and automation options are integrated. Product Information Management ultimately links product information with classifications and their contents and so controls their use in all media. Here it is necessary that all assets, processes or product information is no longer administrated in classic file systems, but are organized intelligently, created collaboratively, and able to be distributed rapidly.  

Digital business transformation goes a good step further. It uses the advantages and potentials of integration and implementation of new technologies as an opportunity to change existing business models and generate new business potential from technical, functional and user-oriented innovations.  

This is a paradigm shift for many companies: first, the needs of the user (customers, suppliers, partners, multipliers and also employers) are at the center of the offer. Instead of developing products and services and then offering them on the market, the market becomes part of an – ideally agile –development process. Companies have to strategically orientate themselves towards the customer, look through the customers’ eyes and put their products and services to the ‘customer test’. Lean start-up methods such as rapid prototyping, live tests with the first minimum viable product and progressive beta tests lend themselves to this. Statistics should not only be collected in the form of market research, but also with polls, tests and crowd-sourcing. It is only in this way that the feedback of future customers can flow directly back into the product or service. If the user is part of this product or service, he and his interaction have to be recorded and appreciated – long before the offer is launched. For this reason, the sustainable changes and new orientation of communication, marketing, sales and service become essential.  

This is where technology such as Customer Relationship Management comes in, for the consequent orientation of a company towards its customers and the systematic forming of the process, which has to be documented, managed and measured. Analytical tools, also can be used in order to measure the data, and business analytics to generate usable knowledge from this information in real time. Fully automatic targeting can be derived from this, all communication and media can be targeted, both contextually and in terms of relevance, and can be played on all devices and channels via Multichannel Campaign Management.  

But be aware: technology can only serve as a vehicle here. The consequent orientation towards customer needs is the strategic core task of the management. A further decisive management task is to initiate and accompany the change in organization. As a rule, people are skeptical to change. All measures involved in digital transformation can help to demonstrate, optimize and shape tasks, processes, and people involved more transparently.  

Even here, involved parties have to be prepared for pending changes and ideally included. It is only in this way that doubts and fears can be eliminated and the necessary security can be offered. The general rule is: the more the employees are integrated, the greater the willingness to transform. It is only when the company sees itself as a learning organization that changes can also be experienced as improvements. The willingness counts as one of the most important success factors for companies. And when the employees see themselves as a key factor in new business models, a culture of innovation will emerge. It is certainly the case that (digital) innovations are brought into being by people but realized via technology. And we should not forget: everything which can be digital, is becoming digital. That is particularly the case for business models.

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