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Christoph Grosser, Managing Partner at Crinera GmbH
Egmont Jaehn, Managing Partner at Convidis AG
For the original article published in KMU Magazin (in German) Click here
The digitization and transformation of an organization are not just IT issues, they are directly related to a company's strategy, processes, business models, organizational structure and workflows. To navigate a business successfully today requires digital expertise all the way up to Board level.
We will explore what this means for the Board of Directors and the important points that they should consider when developing and implementing a digital strategy.
With the steady progression of digitization, business is becoming more entrepreneurial and dynamic. Traditional borders are shifting, value chains are transforming into comprehensive networks and technological developments are fundamentally changing the way we interact with each other and with the economy, education systems and political organizations.
The most recent disruptions are happening at a much faster pace than in the past. It’s impossible to attribute the cause to one specific factor because it is truly a merging of innovative forces. The interconnection between technology and new solutions is rapidly transforming systems and organizations, making it difficult to stay ahead of the curve.
We have seen mixed reactions from companies on how to address the changing landscape, from minimizing and trivializing to horror scenarios and the resulting implications. Companies really have to ask themselves if they are willing to change the strategy or risk extinction, or even if digitization on a broad scale will happen at all?
Business leaders focused on their digital transformation often ask the following questions:
With the work environment becoming more dynamic and automated, employees are confronting the existential nature of their competencies as well as their organization’s chances of survival. A strong digital transformation strategy should be crafted to address the following issues:
In principle, existing board members can acquire digital competencies on their own. Otherwise, the Board can “purchase” this expertise and expand the Board to include additional members. The learning curve can be quite high, so the second approach ensures a more professional transition in a shorter time.
Digital expertise definitely needs to supplement and enhance, not replace, core competencies such as leadership skills, entrepreneurship and strategic thinking.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is being driven by innovations at the physical, digital and biological level, and is having a noticeable impact on organizational structures.
At the digital level, we find information technology, which puts man and machine in ever-closer contact. Economic forces are leading to intelligent factories, where processes are automated by robotics, and resources are used more efficiently. Thanks to artificial intelligence and modern analytics, information has become a major production factor, with speed ??and flexibility counting more than the ownership of resources or dimensions of an enterprise.
Businesses are deciding to outsource to third parties more frequently rather than manage processes in-house. For example, IT cloud services and other support processes like accounting, human resources and logistics.
The office space and labor contract are another topic of discussion. More employees are working on the go, sitting at the client’s premises, or remotely from their homes. Often we see employees preferring to work on an interim basis, where they are focused on specific time-sensitive projects without a classic employment contract. This shift raises questions not only about IT security, but also regarding leadership succession, employee responsibilities and corresponding regulatory and contractual requirements.
In summary, today’s organization should always be designed with employer attractiveness in mind. Top talent prefers professional employers who offer contemporary employment models and attractive, tech savvy work environments.