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5 building blocks for long-term success in digitalization

14. July by DIGITAL2GO in Digitization

DIGITAL2GO Magazine
5 min read

There are many different ways that digitalization can work in companies both large and small. However, most success stories follow some common basic principles.

We’re in the thick of it—and have been for some time. Digitalization has already affected most companies to some degree, regardless of their size, sector or location. Indeed, this should be seen as a great advantage: now more than ever, we can benefit from a wealth of different experiences, ideas and strategies.

So we can hardly deny it: the digitalization of our business is going full speed ahead. Just like previous disruptions, it won’t ask us how prepared we are or what we think of the changes it brings. Companies must realize: anyone who doesn’t want to be left behind should get involved in shaping the way forward.

Although strategies for digitalization can vary widely, five factors for success are clearly recognizable, especially in the first steps along this path:

1. Initiative and activity

Investing lots of work for unknown results—doesn’t this only makes sense for the really big players? Although banishing this attitude about digitalization from one’s company is only a first step, it is a significant one. Those who actively seek out ways to move their company towards digitalization often find themselves a step ahead of the competition.

2. Evolution before revolution

There are plenty of heated discussions about how entire sectors are being turned upside down with digital business models. Uber, Airbnb, and others are the prime examples thanks to their disruptive power. But much more often, digitalization takes place in smaller increments: like improvements of internal processes, increases in productivity or utilization of customer information.

3. Mindset over technology

Automatization, robotics, etc. are giving digitalization in business quite a high degree of visibility. But there are many more far-reaching changes taking place behind the scenes at many companies than is immediately apparent from their use of cutting-edge tech. It is essential to start with a comprehensive overview and deep understanding for the structural foundations of digitalization. Building on this foundation, it is possible to take effective steps from the very beginning.

4. Long-term instead of quick wins

Competing digitalization strategies are of course also weighed in terms of costs. Which digital projects are worthwhile and which disappear, at least for a time, into the bottom of a drawer—this also depends on the investment involved. Even though the promise of a short-term return on investment might be tempting, long-term digital success for many companies comes down to strategies planned with a long-term vision and implemented with intermediate steps that show measurable results.

5. Leadership with a team spirit

While digitalization in business is indeed driven by technology, key roles are still played by individuals. Which people are cast in these roles is at the core of the promise of digital strategies. Visionaries need employees with the expertise to implement their plans. These experienced specialists are often best equipped to predict which products will actually contribute to an improvement in the quality and efficiency of their work.

Whoever actively pursues a concept for the digitalization of their own company has already begun to write the first chapter of a success story—and will probably quickly realize that there is no single right way to move into the future.

Orienting one’s long-term goals towards a company culture compatible with digitalization not only helps to find the best use of new technology—how to divide responsibility for digital strategies also follows logically from the process.

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