The opportunities and risks of digitisation

The opportunities and risks of digitisation 13.07.2017 - When a company undergoes major changes, some people see mainly the opportunities and others mainly the risks. When discussing the topic of digitisation, the younger generation frequently likes to highlight the opportunities and advantages that the digital world offers, while large portions of the older generation tend to see the risks. Digitisation is undoubtedly changing everyday life and the professional world. Thanks to smartphones and countless apps, anyone who embraces this technology can quickly and easily access the Internet. Even people who are less computer-savvy can book a hotel, buy stocks, convert currency rates, check the weather forecast or read the news anywhere, anytime. What unsettles some people is for others a huge help and a great service. As a project manager you have to embrace the increase of digitisation as soon as possible, because in order to be competitive you have to always offer your customers a modern, suitable service, regardless of whether they are conservative or progressive.
Understanding digitisation

Those people who want to focus on digitisation and their opportunities should first try to find out as much as possible about the subject and understand the mechanisms behind it. The Internet and the digital world are misunderstood by many people. The media reports success stories such as the author of 50 Shades of Grey, who rose to world fame in just a few months thanks to her e-book, or the story of Uber, the private taxi company which was quickly able to give conventional taxis a run for their money. At the same time, however, fear and alarm are also spreading due to attacks by hackers, suggesting that privacy is at risk or that digitisation is to be blamed for the exploitation of workers in developing countries.
These examples show that the topic of digitisation is polarised, however they also show its good sides and dark sides too. Therefore, if you want to introduce a certain area of the digital world into the company or into a project, you should consult experts in advance about which program or system offers the best and safest solution for the desired purpose. Anyone who is familiar and well-informed on the topic can also offer their customers ideal digital support services in project management.
Integrating digitisation into project management

The transparent man, through whom companies and insurance companies can find out about everything online, makes many people uneasy. Customers who bring in a project manager are also concerned about different digital solutions, or they simply do not know enough to trust in certain products and systems. These often diffuse fears must be taken seriously, and ultimately, some risks are real and not all fears unfounded. One should not blindly stumble into the issue of digitisation, in the end it’s the project manager who is also responsible for protecting the project from risks, including digital ones. It is, therefore, a balancing act between the possibilities that digital products offer which facilitate day to day work in project management on the one hand, and the responsibility for data security on the other.
What is standard and what is risky?

Of course, it’s up to the customer when ascertaining which methods and systems the project manager should propose. Regardless of whether a project manager is better known for their conservative or progressive methods, today, email, digital photography, digital reporting and sending electronic documents are all commonplace. Essentially, no one can get by any longer without these basic digital innovations. No customer would accept someone saying that there’s no email address, it would be simply unthinkable.
It is a different case with other digital methods: project platforms such as SharePoint or other platforms where data, documents, and information can be shared and distributed within a project are still not standard. Therefore, in the initial discussions with the new customer it is essential to ascertain to what extent this person sees opportunities or risks in the process of digitisation and which approaches they would like to use. Being progressive and making customers dizzy by using technical jargon is not an effective strategy. Particularly with digital platforms – where the customer’s data and the project are stored in the cloud – it is enormously important to explain the risks to the customer as well as the opportunities. Transparency is the magic word. The project manager wins customers by sharing his knowledge, without being arrogant about it!

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