Buzzword bingo in the digital age
What keywords meet us on a daily basis? In the morning, over my first cup of coffee and while having a glance at the (online!) newspaper, the word “digital transformation” catches my eye. I’ve barely arrived at the office and read the word “digitization”, again, in the headline of the first newsletter. It’s almost as if these texts were intentionally written in sync. But what words win the frequency race? “Digital” and “transformation” stand next to all the other keywords, which only start making sense after I’ve consulted Dr. Google. As I’m zapping through the TV program in the evening, I once again get stuck at the word “digital transformation”. If I’d been playing buzzword bingo, my exclamations would’ve produced sounds all day.
In a new world by the push of a button?
But what is behind that excessively used word combination, and what does its digital realization look like in practice? According to a study by Capgemini, over 70% of all interviewed CEOs see the expansion of digitization as the most important requirement for the upcoming year. The immense shortage of specialists however, especially when it comes to the handling of these modern technologies, evokes complaints at the same time. The blame is shifted on the swept market as well as on outdated work structures within the companies. But can’t this digitization be realized in a different, a more gentle way?
Transformation stands for reformation, ergo the change from one condition into the next. But if I take a closer look at the use of the term in this day and age, I’m more likely reminded of “Scotti beam me up”! Companies imagine that arriving into the new age of digitization happens all short and sweet, by the mere push of a button, and suddenly you’ll find yourself in a different world. But that exactly is the difference between Hollywood and reality. The people who work within the company need to be tuned in for and prepared for this change, and thus accompanied as it is happening. Only once there’s a profound comprehension in the entire company, a grave redesign in this magnitude, like the complete electronic mapping of processes, can pass off.
The tactic of sitting it out — as in leaning back and saying: “Yes, we do want digitization, but we’re missing experts!”— only paves the way for the end of the list of commercial enterprises. Instead, developing knowledge within the company is the perfect opportunity to keep pace with technology. Every industry, every company, every line of business has its own individual processes to be created, and can thus take the pioneering role by means of an efficient approach.
Digital evolution as a guide of digitization
But what exactly needs to be done? Firstly, specific know-how needs to be established — with entrepreneurial finesse and the according expertise. Secondly, synergies need to be identified and taken use of, just as the existing experience of specialists needs to be participated in. Partially, this has already been put into practice — but the acceptance and the benefits from it haven’t fully reached the surface of all places. In many cases, consultants — who optimize processes and structures with their technical knowledge and tailor them to the future world of digitization — are still perceived as out of place. The fact that new systems or structures are often just imposed like that only adds to the problem — the classic top-down approach. A bottom-up strategy, on the other hand, allows for an enormous increase of acceptance among the employees.
In order to really be successful — which, first and foremost, means having an economically positive position but also the ability as an innovation driver to identify and take advantage of future chances —, a digital evolution should be planned. Not harsh change but instead a targeted and coordinated development into digitization should be the way on which all involved members within a society need to be cooperating. Strategic concepts containing an optimal planning of resources are the order of the day. Consequently, a networked knowledge and experience transfer needs to take place. Using the strengths of individuals and combining them with the scientific innovations should be the way into a productive and efficient economy. The digital evolution is a permanent development, and with every step taken forward, new chances come into sight that can be realized through a solid foundation.
Author: Sabine Rudolf
Image: © PhonlamaiPhoto / istockphoto.com