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27. February 2018

Digital transformation: A matter of corporate culture

Why digitisation has to be supported by all members of staff

Digitisation is not just about bity, bytes and efficient software – it can only work if it is firmly implemented within the companies. And that can only be achieved with a change in corporate culture.

It’s a team effort!

Digitisation is the biggest upheaval companies of any size and business field have seen in decades. It affects every industry sector and calls for new forms of internal organisation and processes. It is more than just technological progress – it goes beyond the concerns and responsibilities of the IT department and alters every single workplace in the company.

This is what gives digitisation its particular scope. Such a wide-ranging transformation, the nature of which cannot be fathomed by most, is greeted with unease and disapproval by many employees. Haven’t expertise and experience done the job so far? And now everything is up in the air? It is certainly possible that employees are feeling devalued and under-fire, and they will naturally defend their previous MO while rejecting reforms. And that is mostly because nobody really bothers to convince them of the purpose of digitisation.

Digitisation as a pivotal challenge

Digitisation is not this strange phenomenon out of IT – it affects every staff member, every individual operation, every product, every customer contact and the company’s strategy as a whole. It also affects the corporate culture and has to be perceived and incorporated as a task. Irrespective of its specific focus, digitisation can only be implemented effectively if the corporate culture proves itself to be sound, and isn’t just a verbose and image promoting ideal.

Every employee contributes her or his part to corporate culture – with experience and conduct, with vision and commitment. A company treating all their staff members as talented and experienced individuals is able to efficiently capitalize from their potential. Whenever an employee is seen as a person, she or he is much more motivated to commit themselves fully to the success of the company.

Corporate culture is put to the test

These basic insights into staff leadership are crucial to implementing digitisation. To put it into practice digitisation has to be communicated by the management. In its fundamental and comprehensive nature it is a task for change management – because after taking the necessary steps towards sweeping digitisation the companies will be all but unrecognizable. Digitisation is not an issue solely for IT, it affects purchasing and marketing, human resources and production, communications and advertising. And it puts the corporate culture to the test.

Thus management is tasked with the major challenge of steering and mediating this process. All resentments and concerns have to be taken seriously and into account. No company can afford for their employees to become victims of the digital age. This is a highly emotional process and nobody is to be left behind.

Digitisation – a change in consciousness

Digitisation is more than just a method or a technology, every participant needs a change in consciousness. A number of insights is needed.

  • Digitisation is a reality and will not go away.
  • It belongs in the hands of professional IT experts but when it comes to staff leadership it is a management issue.
  • Digitisation affects and changes the day-to-day work of every single employee.
  • Digitisation is part of the future of the company and part of the future in the company. Or, in reverse: no digitisation means no future for the company and in the company.
  • Digitisation can only work properly if all employees are invested.
  • It is a collaborative effort which has to be handled in unison and can only be successfully achieved in unison.
  • Digitisation is a challenge to everyone – and challenges are only accepted readily if all employees are motivated.

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