Digital transformation and digitalization of companies: burdens and strengths

What is digital transformation?

The development of new technologies has imposed a transformation of business models. Therefore, today digital transformation is not just an opportunity but a necessary step for those companies that want to improve their business and be competitive.

However, the digitization of companies is not limited to the use of new technologies and to document dematerialization, but implies a change of vision that questions the old operating models.

In fact, to optimize a business it is not enough to digitize its processes but it is necessary to create a real digital culture through a set of technological, organizational, social, cultural, creative and managerial changes. Therefore, the digital transformation goes beyond the simple adoption of new technologies and creates connections between people, places and things, encouraging transparency, sharing and inclusion throughout the company system.

According to The Agile Elephant manifesto, digital transformation “involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitalization of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organization’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders“.

This definition turns the spotlight on the importance of human capital in the digital evolution of companies. Moreover, it underlines the need to make a real cultural change to redesign and improve the business processes.

Which are the 6 pillars of digital transformation?

What is the starting point of the business digitization process? The first step is to change the strategic vision within the company and develop the Digital Mindset, that is the mental predisposition to welcome the opportunities behind technological innovation in order to improve business results.

The second step is to define a strategy based on the six pillars of digital transformation:

  1. People: soft skills, mental agility and problem solving are essential to face change. Companies that want to take up the challenge of digital innovation and be competitive must invest in their employees and select profiles capable of facing change;
  2. Innovation: often transformation and innovation are two interchangeable terms, but they are not synonymous. Indeed, transformation needs innovation. To create something new and rethink a business it is necessary to communicate and collaborate;
  3. Change: managers must provide employees with the tools to manage the company’s digital transformation. Moreover, remember that the digital transformation doesn’t have a precise duration or term, but is a constantly evolving process;
  4. Leadership: the company digitization must be promoted and guided by the CEO, who should be able to communicate both with people within the company (employees) and outside (stakeholders and customers);
  5. Customer Experience: the digital transformation allows companies to better control touchpoints throughout the Customer Journey in order to offer them a multi-channel and personalized shopping experience;
  6. Culture: digital transformation can only take place if supported by a digital culture, which is based on people’s experiences and on innovation.

Digital transformation: the players in the company’s digitalization process

There are three figures within the company who must supervise and guide the digitalization process:

CIO (Chief Information Officer): is the company manager responsible for the information & communication technology. He reports directly to the CEO and his main task is the strategic direction of information systems. These must adapt to the business processes and be a competitive advantage in support of production activities;

CDO (Chief Digital Officer): is the professional who helps companies to convert analogue activities into digital, using new technologies and big data. The goal is to achieve business improvement and growth objectives more quickly. The CDO has varied skills: social enterprise management, project management and ICT. He is in charge of analyzing and developing the company’s digital capabilities, managing technological and digital processes, establishing KPIs to make data-driven decisions. In addition, he involves the board of directors in digital processes and creates the internal digital corporate culture to foster change;

CEO (Chief Executive Officer): he has a key role in the digital transformation process as he allows the digitalization to start and defines the medium-long term strategy.

ICT (Information & Communications Technology) skills are fundamental for digital transformation. Among the most requested figures by companies are:

  • Digital marketing specialists;
  • Data Analysts;
  • Digital/Technology officers;
  • UI/UX Designers;
  • Content managers/Editors;
  • E-commerce specialists;
  • Mobile developers;
  • Cloud Service Specialists.

The 10 advantages of business digitization

Here are the 10 advantages of digital transformation:

  1. Updating of skills and knowledge;
  2. Faster business management, optimization of the production organization and chances of entering new markets;
  3. Dematerialization, computerization and Cloud Computing;
  4. Saving of time, resources and space;
  5. Automation, virtualization, flexibility and speed of work thanks to the use of new technologies;
  6. Opportunity to sell products through an e-commerce;
  7. Communication of corporate values through different means and languages, greater visibility of products and services thanks to Social Networks and the company blog;
  8. Acquisition of authority in the industry and differentiation from competitors;
  9. Direct interaction with the audience, customer loyalty and easier search for new ones;
  10. Greater customer satisfaction thanks to an increasingly personalized Customer Experience.
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