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Companies are under immense pressure to shift their existing business into the digital age and to develop and launch parallel new models(PresseBox) ( Frankfurt, )
Anyone who hesitates – or even stagnates – will quickly lose ground in the digital race. Therefore, a consistent end-to-end digitization may represent the successful basis for future-compatible realignment. Isolated solutions are usually not sustainable and cannot meet the requirements in terms of customer focus and efficient processes. When it comes to implementation, several departments or divisions need to work together, with IT taking on a key role as a business enabler.
Customers demand digital services
Our daily life is becoming ever more digital. Most people appreciate the information and transaction opportunities that the Internet provides. They make use of the permanent availability of product and pricing information and customers can now even design their own products online according to their own wishes. In addition, they rely increasingly on intermediaries and comparison websites and transfer these expectations to almost all sectors with which they have contact.
Companies need to digitise products and processes throughout
New competitors are breaking into the markets and disrupting existing value chains, sometimes changing them dramatically. Many companies have already responded to the divide between digital customer requirements and existing offers. However, some have concentrated so far often on individual measures and have still not realised the enormous potential of end-to-end digitization or, in some cases, even recognised the need for it. Examples of such individual measures are activities like the modernisation of the website or the introduction of apps. These measures are useful for many companies, but as long as many complex processes continue to be carried out manually and companies remain stuck in the past, they will continue to fail their customers’ digital expectations.
Understanding customer expectations and needs
If one takes a closer look at the type of convenience that customers want, the processes of some innovative business models suddenly come to the fore. Good examples of successful implementation are Airbnb and Uber. Neither company has reinvented the wheel; but they have, however, created very convenient digital management of their business models for their customers and made use of the available digital opportunities of the post-Google phase.
Most innovators agree that it is important to put customer needs – i.e. seen from the perspective of the customer – at the centre. What is new, however, for many is the opportunity to implement this in an end-to-end digitization and thus provide increased customer penetration and stimulate growth increases by delivering an improved customer experience.
The process, however, should not occur in isolation: companies need to seize the opportunity to realise the paradigm shift offered by modern technologies.
Various approaches to end-to-end digitization
The established market players, in particular, have very different views on the best approach: some rely on parallel implementation in completely new set-ups and others on embedding digitisation in existing structures. Some argue for an integrated multichannel transformation of existing business, using new tools, such as, for example, robotics in production processes. While others prefer a parallel build-up of purely digital business channels to replace existing processes.
This second option has much to recommend it: because in the digital age, speed is a success factor that should certainly not be underestimated.
In addition to this, companies should consider recruiting neutral ‘digital talents’ during end-to-end digitisation. They are often able to offer the company an unprejudiced and completely new vision and can contribute significantly to the success of digitisation. These talents can fill either the role of Change Manager or CDO, but at the same time also act as a ‘catalyst’ for the other staff members.
The success of digitization presents many companies with major challenges. The digital conversion of individual processes and departments should be implemented consistently as an end-to-end solution to ensure success in the digital competition with other companies. One thing should be clear to everyone: doing nothing is not an option when it comes to digitization. It is also important to implement these challenges not merely with the existing team but to bring in new and neutral specialists and executives (even from completely different industries) to get new perspectives. Such people are not always easy to find, but professional personnel consultants know where to look.
Martin Krill has been working for Hager Unternehmensberatung for more than fifteen years and was made a managing partner in 2004. He fills top sales and management positions in the technology industry as well as a number of other sectors.
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