Next week I am joining a panel discussion about “Digital Transformation and Shared Economy – what family owned companies can learn from start-ups”as part of the Pioneer Festival in Vienna, a major event for future technologies and entrepreneurship.
The impact of digitalization presents unprecedented challenges for all companies – big or small. Digitalization can not only extend the reach of organizations and improve management decisions, but most of all it can speed up the development of new products and services. But this can also mean that your traditional business model may become disrupted. Having a solid strategy for your digital transformation is therefore key.
For established companies working together with start-ups for their digital transformation can have many benefits. These range from having better access to new technologies to an increase in innovation as well as learning to be more lean and fast.
But what are the most important pre-requisites for a successful transformation? I know that there are a few but here are my top 4:
- The C-suite is boss
Digitalization is a key change for any business model. But it will also mean changes in your corporate culture. Therefore it can only be successful if the transformation process is owned and backed by CEO.
- Startup mentality is part of your DNA
If you want to be innovative and foster new technologies, you will need people that have an entrepreneurial mindset in your organization. And you will want to give them all the support they need. Digitalization means being hands-on, open to trial and error and being convinced of its success. And being given the space to to develop new business models will be key to get ahead in the process.
- Protect innovation
Innovation, just like any change, can often fail if the organization does not embrace it. As mentioned above, it is critical that people working on digital transformation are given the (protected) space to create and develop new ideas and are able to test these in an agile manner. Give them the autonomy to go and impact things.
- Truly understanding your customer
The key word here is “customer centricity” – if you do not know who your customers are nor what they really need you will already have lost. Services and products should be developed with a focus on what the customer needs rather what the organization believes is needed. And ideally, this should be done as fast as possible to quickly meet the market demands.
But something we must not forget: digital transformation is not only driven by technology but also by humans and how they communicate this transformation. I think the latter is often forgotten when we hear or read about digital transformation. But that is something I will focus on in my next article. Watch this space!