Change is difficult. This is exactly what companies and organizations that want to start or drive forward their digital transformation are currently realizing. Data silos, complex processes, and a lack of will are challenges they face. But they have little choice but to deal with them. Senior Business Development Manager , sheds light on the digitization process and reveals what those responsible need to pay attention to for it to be crowned with long-term success.
Many companies increasingly realize that they must push their digitization to remain relevant. The need to achieve greater efficiencies and greater profitability and accommodate customers’ changing purchasing and consumption habits means they need new business models. However, it would not make sense from a financial or strategic point of view to implement these new models with manual processes.
But for digitization to succeed, those responsible must first eliminate a few risks that endanger this progress:
- The employees – Whether new systems and processes work depends largely on how well the employees accept them. A “we’ve always done it this way” mentality can lead the project to failure.
- The Data Deluge – Organizations need to break down data silos to generate useful insights and make more informed decisions. To do this, however, they must be able to provide data efficiently. Otherwise, the flood of data will overwhelm them.
- The complexity of products – companies must first ask themselves which products or services are suitable in digitized form to address old and new customers. In the case of complex offers in particular, however, implementation can be difficult and time-consuming.
- Lack of data innovation and experimentation – Insurers, for example, work with disparate data sources spread across their products. Therefore, collecting data points is a tedious task. However, only a few companies have invested in the infrastructure necessary to develop new data models.
Accept The Challenge
To master these challenges and to make the digitization process as smooth as possible, companies must first be aware of the specific goal they want to achieve. In doing so, they often face a strategic problem: Are they concentrating on strengthening sales and thus increasing sales volume? Improve operational efficiencies to reduce expenses. Or to optimize products and services, which increases profitability? A company’s strategic sweet spot will determine how the other digitization process will develop.
This requires a comprehensive analysis to uncover weaknesses and bottlenecks in processes and systems and identify areas for improvement. At the same time, companies should take this opportunity to review their product or service portfolio for their digitization potential. A hard-hitting analysis can also lead to the realization that some offerings may no longer be needed in an increasingly digital world or must be redesigned from the ground up. Insurers, for example, usually have 80 products and more on offer, all with individual gradations. If these are to be digitized, it is worth considering whether some of these products can be combined or how they can be represented digitally at all,
A question that should also be asked in this analysis is that of process automation. Technologies exist today, especially for monotonous routine tasks, that can do them (almost) without human intervention. This includes Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which is used in customer service, for example, to process inquiries or orders. Since these are standardized, structured processes – sending an order confirmation, an invoice, printing a delivery note – or frequently asked questions, they can be automated with the help of technology.
Furthermore, companies must break down their data silos and develop new data models supporting digital business models and offers. Important here: It is not enough if companies are only able to collect sometimes very different data sources. You also need to connect them and deliver them so that employees can easily use them to derive relevant insights from them. Especially at the product level, different data models can also create huge inefficiencies and new silos – this must be avoided.
And patience is a virtue here too. Companies should drive their digitization forward with the necessary speed but not, for example, throw immature products onto the market to secure first-party advantages. The risk of annoying customers with a bad user interface or missing functions could be better.
Create A Spirit Of Optimism
Lastly, companies must take their employees with them on the digitization journey. Public authorities are often used as a negative example of a lack of willingness to change, but this can be the case in companies of all industries and sizes. To create enthusiasm – or at least benevolence – employees should be involved in the process as early as possible. That means transparently showing them the advantages of their daily work and relieving them of any concerns that might be superfluous in the future.
It can help if they can make suggestions themselves. Companies should also offer training so that employees learn how to use the new technologies on the one hand and skills that will become more important in the future on the other.
Digital transformation is now vital for companies, and they cannot afford to fail. Otherwise, they run the risk of seeing the competition pass them by. That is why they must identify any risks at an early stage and think about their digitization strategy right from the start. However, the process should be introduced promptly but follow a clear plan from the start that includes hurdles and solution models for overcoming them.
This is the only way they can seize the opportunities of optimized systems, automated processes, and new business models and achieve long-term success – and relieve their employees.