In the chicken coop of failed Digital Transformation

by | 24. Mar 2021 | Digital Workplace, Latest

Spring of 2020. Germany as a business location. Digital transformation? Well… And suddenly this: Corona! Companies that until then had relied on digitization being a casual phenomenon of fashion were savagely called to account for their lack of innovative courage and naive actionism. To put it mildly.

After all, running around trade fairs looking for the golden egg that is “digital transformation” – this should have become clear to every CEO by this point at the latest – is not an effective means of securing competitiveness. Especially not in the current situation!

Actionism vs. reality

What I was able to observe until last spring (and still can) are highly technological companies, driven by THE digital transformation – ready run aground with the most small-scale thinking possible and a lack of holistic management.

Again and again, IT departments are credited with the ability to decide (whether they want to or not) what is right for business departments. With this legitimation on the part of middle or top management, IT now goes on a major shopping spree. The result: tools that, in the best case, are nice to have, but above all expensive toys. Often enough, no one needs these “fashion gadgets,” at least not those who are supposed to work with them.

The conclusion drawn from this by management? Digital transformation has failed! Now there are the decision-makers who are trying to achieve a better result through the next round of actionism.

…Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

unknown author (but could have been Albert Einstein)

The others then just let it go for now and indulge in the “never change a running system” mantra.

Holistic concepts

One thing is clear (or should be): always dropping a single drop into another bucket and practicing deep-seated lethargy cannot be recommended concepts when it comes to wanting to secure competitiveness through digital transformation.

Shit in – shit out

Hen or egg – strategy or tools? Which is needed first? In this case, clearly the strategy hen. Because the goal is to develop a holistic concept. A concept that, as a first step, is not dedicated to the pointless purchase of any available software solution, but that is oriented towards the actual needs. A concept that captures, understands and optimizes the culture of a company, its goals and ways of working, instead of senselessly digitizing them by hook or by crook.

“…If you digitize a crappy process, you have a crappy digital process.”

Thorsten Dirks, OIH-One GmbH (former CEO Eurowings and board member Lufthansa).

Digital transformation – the starting signal

That’s why it’s not correct to talk about digital transformation projects, because digital transformation is a progressive, holistic process that must accommodate a company’s transformation for the duration of its continued existence. A digital transformation project – may one actually speak of “project” – can only be an initial starting signal. A basis to be developed that provides the impetus for further development.

Digital transformation is not (just) the isolated, one-time introduction of new technology or software. Digital transformation is the integration of employees and their knowledge into the design of business processes and the creation of opportunities to make employee knowledge available and usable for everyone within the company. So it’s not just a passing fad after all, but a fundamental, far-sighted component of corporate strategy.

I wish I were a chicken

The free-range enclosure with happy chickens no longer seems to be just a crazy dream. Because many companies are on the right track. They have understood that new technology is not the only decisive factor, but only a means of mapping processes, knowledge and also the culture of a company. They do not see their employees as machines that carry out orders, but as individual innovation drivers and enablers – as reliable partners at the side of an organization in challenging times and beyond. And they do justice to their employees and corporate goals with far-sighted ideas.