From Digitalization to Digital Competitive Advantages

Digitalization is not referred to as the "digital revolution" for no reason. The pressure to take action is enormous, but so is the potential, leaving companies around the world with a compelling sense of urgency to do something, and do it quickly. However, the truth is, only the companies that build sustainable digital skills – and don't just skim through transformation projects – have a real shot at succeeding.

Digitalization Among the Top 3 Priorities

There is no doubt that digitalization is on every companies' list of top priorities. However, many tend to perceive it solely as digitization of existing business models. And while this in and of itself can be challenging enough, it's only half of the story. True digitalization, on the other hand, must yield twofold results: improve something already existing and create something entirely new.

 

Innovations such as music streaming, car sharing, subscription models and alike, are the perfect examples of how successful digitalization both optimizes existing business models, as well as creates new, combined product and service offerings.

 

What these often-used examples have in common, is that they have already been implemented and put in action. Now, does this mean that they can be replicated and reproduced for every company? Is digitalization already done? Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

 

Digitalization doesn't guarantee the same path of getting from A to B for everyone. It represents a continuous transformation process which has to be implemented on the basis of selected influencing factors such as current digital possibilities, changed user expectations, standards and alike. Naturally, companies must be able to control this digital transformation process themselves – in their respective corporate and competitive environments – and execute it in a way that can be repeated several times (replicability).

 

So what does it take to make successful digitalization learnable and replicable for companies?


Implementing digitalization in a sustainable manner entails building up digital skills, and not just carrying out digital transformation projects.


Dr. Christian Lichka, Management Board, BOC Group

 

 

 

 

Digital Skills Development

Digitalization of a company can be compared to the growth of a child. The more skills they built up, the greater are the chances that future developments (= uncertainties) will provide them with an opportunity to use those skills for their own benefit.

 

And companies should think about and build up their skills in the same manner. Classic management principles from organizational, process and IT management domains still remain valid, and are in fact needed more than ever: Digital skills are by no means synonymous with pure IT skills. They need to be built up at all levels of an enterprise (see following figure).

 

 

Graphic: To surge ahead of competition, digital skills are a must - from everyone - at all levels

The Value-Add for Your Company

The development of digital capabilities can be realized through projects, however they must be managed carefully and in a dedicated manner, to achieve results that go beyond 'mere' project results. And this requires digital capability building blocks.

 

Building blocks have that property of being familiar, standardized and reusable any number of times. 'Resuable' in this sense implies that they are "retrievable" from a corporate perspective, meaning that their responsibilities and processes are clearly defined.

 

 

What's more, these capabilities are built up step by step in different categories (levels), gradually resulting in a digital representation of the company on as many as possible / all levels: starting from customer journeys, process maps, organizational charts, detailed processes, application catalogues, and all the way to data, interface and infrastructure views.

 

Through the use of transformation platforms like ADONIS and ADOIT, the content of all the different levels can be clearly defined, managed, accounted for – and most importantly – connected with reality. Start off easy. Step by step. This is how you implement digitalization.

Three Steps. Start Easy. With Your Main Focus.


Design. Connect. Engage.
Be it customer journeys, organizational models, processes, IT architectures, applications, data, interfaces, etc. – design the digital transformation for your entire company.
Design. Connect. Engage.
Communicate, automate your processes with workflows, integrate with SAP, collaborate with colleagues, request approvals, monitor with dashboards, etc. Connect links your content from the design phase with the information from your company.
Design. Connect. Engage.
Anchor the transformation, continuously optimize, recognize deviations and continuously become better. Engage ensures that your company produces results which meet your desired level of success.

 

 

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Enrique Lobo Cruz

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