The main reasons for the restraint
Many companies gallop directly into software selection without having set up a digitisation strategy and, above all, without really having understood digitisation. Choosing the right software is often a difficult task and discourages companies before they have even started digitisation. Other factors that prevent German SMEs from outsourcing are a lack of competence in the company and a lack of skilled personnel. Digitisation is always a management decision, and German SMEs often lack the necessary change management skills at manager level. In particular in Germany, strong data security concerns are added to the list of factors that prevent companies from considering the cloud as an option.
The first step to success is understanding what it means to be a digitised company. Only after this has been understood, a digitisation strategy can be set up, software can be selected and the processes in the company can be implemented.
Digitisation does not simply mean using cloud software in your company. Digitisation represents the way in which companies can integrate their stakeholders on the basis of digital channels.
Therefore it is not enough to use a cloud system such as cloud storage or customer management software in the company to be considered a digitised company. Digital transformation does not depend on the tools x, y, z, which are used to manage the business processes, but is about integrating stakeholders through digital channels.
"For me, the focus of the digitised company is on the ability to integrate with customers and partners on the internet as easily and quickly as possible, so that high levels of automation can be achieved that can be used to quickly place products on the market. This is the key issue: How quickly am I able to place new ideas, new products, new solutions with customers? Am I faster than my competitors?", says Prof. Dr. Andreas Schmietendorf, Professor of Business Informatics at the Berlin University of Economics and Law.
What does a digitised company look like?
There are companies that can digitise their core business, as well as analogue companies. Both forms of business can benefit from digitisation equally.
Traditional, non-digital companies are, for example, craft businesses. In addition to handicraft work, craftsmen also prepare offers and invoices, check the receipt of invoices and delivery notes, take calls and complaints and coordinate the team and working hours. The manual execution of these tasks takes a lot of time and is prone to errors. By digitising these processes, the craftsmen gain time for their essential tasks and are better able to carry them out. The entire order processing can be done and stored digitally. Companies can integrate their suppliers directly into the system, store customers in a customer management system and note complaints in order to increase the quality of customer service. So that customers no longer have to call and try to catch a free co-worker, the crafts enterprise can offer also an online date arrangement for its customers. Employees can be integrated into a simple human resource management system, in which working hours are regulated and days off and days absent are recorded.
Another example of a digitised company is Deutsche Telekom: Your customers can buy a mobile phone in the store, sign the appropriate contract and make phone calls when they leave the store. The linking of the processes that run in the background to make this possible is a sign that a company is digitised.
Which business processes should be supported by software?
Which processes should be outsourced to the cloud to make digital transformation a success depends, as we have seen in the two examples, on the type of company. According to a study by Capterra and Prof. Dr. Schmietendorf, it can be said that at least the areas of customer management, enterprise resource management, human resource management and project management should definitely be supported with software.
In the next article in our series "Leading Digital Transformation to Success" you will learn about the various project management solutions from the cloud and the advantages they offer companies.
Author: Ines Bahr
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