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Digital transformation as an opportunity for companies

The digital transformation has already begun in many companies and will continue to progress in the future. But what is it actually, what does digital transformation in companies look like and what are the opportunities? You can find out more about the basics and the definition of digital transformation in the following article.

What is digital transformation?

The definition of digital transformation is a process that describes change in companies, but also in the private sector, and can encompass many different measures.

From the use of digital media to the restructuring of business and work processes, digital transformation is primarily a long-term process that can only progress slowly due to the complexity at all levels in companies.

Difference: digitalisation and digital transformation

Yes, there is a difference between digitisation and digital transformation does exist. Digitalisation usually refers to purely technical aspects through the use of new media or the adaptation of existing structures. Digital transformation, on the other hand, refers to the entire process in a company that goes hand in hand with digital change in general and is never complete.

Digital transformation – examples

There are many practical examples of the implementation of digital transformation. These include the following:

  • Use of all facets of social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and many more)
  • Storing and digitally accessing large amounts of data
  • Offer of cloud services (access from home and office)
  • Use of smart technologies (smartphones, tablets and wearables)
  • Intelligent networks
  • Mobile payment systems
  • and many more

Opportunities: Digital transformation in companies

The digital transformation in companies offers many opportunities, but also risks. You can find an overview of both here:

Opportunities of digital transformation

  • Increasing competitiveness
  • New business potential
  • Networking as an opportunity
  • Development of new resources and markets
  • Simplification and acceleration of various processes
  • Cost reduction through the expansion of digital processes and more targeted use of data
  • Introduction of flexible working models
  • Increase in sales

Risks of digital transformation

  • Lack of know-how
  • Problems with implementation
  • Risk of data theft
  • Higher investment costs

5 steps of the digital transformation

The following steps are important in order to lay the foundations for a successful digital transformation:

1. Analysis

The first step is to analyse all existing processes. All areas of the company are examined for their potential for change. This enables companies to find out how they can strategically position themselves in the future and network in such a way that the digital transformation enables them to achieve optimal positioning on the market . This involves analysing not only the company’s own processes and interfaces, but also those of customers, suppliers and other business partners.

2. Development of digital business models

After the analysis, the next step is to develop new models. Existing business models can be adapted, further developed or replaced by completely new systems. This enables companies to reach not only existing customers, but also new ones. In order to tap into new target groups and sales opportunities, structured development and planning of business models is crucial. It is also important that implementation is as cost- and time-efficient as possible.

3. Careful test phase

Before new processes and technologies are put into practice, a controlled test phase is essential. Here, the new digital solutions are first extensively tested after their introduction until everything runs smoothly.

4. Training for the necessary know-how

The next step is to train all employees to implement the digital transformation. External employees, customers and suppliers must also be included in this process. In the best case scenario, all employees are then in a position to develop new business approaches and actively contribute to the company’s success.

5. Long-term management by executives

As digital transformation is a lengthy and never-ending process, it is important to have the right management and control. The coordination of cross-company measures should therefore be left to the managers of a company. They also need to train their digital skills and leadership qualities, which are important for the digital transformation, and undergo continuous further training.

Optimally prepare and support teams

The digital transformation takes time, but pays off in the long term. The following measures help to support employees and teams:

Define goals

Clear goals help everyone involved to implement the planned digital transformation measures.

Promote further development

Regular training and courses on the subject help employees to stay up to date and promote general commitment.

Communication at eye level

Instead of unilaterally prescribing new measures, the ideas and wishes of employees are also needed. If you get everyone on board, you use the full potential as an opportunity for further development.

Digital transformation – take advantage of advice

As the process of digital transformation is often very complex and cannot be managed by many companies on their own, some companies seek advice on digital transformation .

In addition to the definition of long-term goals, this includes topics such as the selection of suitable technologies, necessary employee training and the alignment of the business model with the digital transformation process.

Advice can be particularly important for small companies that have little experience with the use of new digital technologies and need to pay close attention to their budget.

Subsidies are possible

Digital change or digital transformation is not an easy process for companies and is often very cost-intensive, as new technologies and the necessary expertise first have to be acquired.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) therefore repeatedly offers funding programs for investments in the necessary software and hardware, as well as for employee training measures. For example, on the subject of data security, information technology and other basic know-how that is important for a successful digital transformation.

Conclusion:

Digital transformation is a lengthy but worthwhile process that companies will not be able to avoid in the future. Many have already started, while others are still at the very beginning. Some have already positioned themselves well in theory, but there is a lack of implementation. It is important to constantly re-evaluate the process and adapt it to current conditions, as well as to consider the company's long-term prospects. Good advice for the digital transformation is therefore particularly important at the beginning, but also during the digital transformation. The top management of companies should also always be involved in the entire process.

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