Digital Transformation

Currently I am working on a project together with our partners from Crosswalk, a newly founded Zurich-based consultancy on digital maturity and digital transformation. I guess it is save to say that this is an absolutely trending topic among practitioners at the moment, however, I have been researching academic literature and it seems that the term “digital transformation” is not commonly used there.

https://flic.kr/p/7J2nZh by Shibuya246, licensed  under CC-BY-NC 2.0

https://flic.kr/p/7J2nZh by Shibuya246, licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.0

Transforming business is not a new topic and in particular with transforming companies from the industrial age to the digital age, there are many different topics and research streams. The term “transformation” also indicates that this is about a broader change, not only about giving employees access to a tablet device. It means profoundly changing business models, strategies, technologies and culture.

Thinking about chances and challenges that this has for companies and how our research can help managers to shape their strategies, I stumbled across two articles in German newspapers, which I found quite interesting. German companies might traditionally be a bit cautious and expectant towards digital trends, and especially the second interview showed this.

Franz Fehrenbach (Robert Bosch GmbH) has given an interview in the Handelsblatt, recognizing the chances that enterprises have by making use of digitization opportunities. He also stresses, that big companies might need a bit more openness and creativity. I would agree, that you need to be willing to take some risk, to fail and to challenge the status quo.

And then there was this article in the FAZ stating that in particular small and medium enterprises (the German “Mittelstand”) are not investing in digital transformation activities, mainly because there are some fears towards security and also because they are waiting for new technologies to proof their value first, before investing in it. Again – willingness to take some risk.

I am looking forward to investigating some more on this topic. In one week I will host an expert group and present my preliminary results and in November we will start  an online survey, to collect data on the digital maturity off Swiss companies. I will share some more results as soon as they are available.

Meanwhile I´d appreciate if you leave me comments with your thoughts on this topic.

Here are some sources that I have collected during my research and which you might find helpful, if you would like to dig deeper into this topic:

Reports

  • CapGemini has done research with MIT Sloan Management Review and put together their results here. You can download their report “Embracing Digital Technology” here.
  • PwC has conducted a worldwide survey on what factors raise the “Digital IQ” of companies.
  • BearingPoint uses the metaphor “Digital Darwinism”
  • Bain and Company shaped the term “Digical” which indicates that it is not solely digital technologies, but they also have an impact on the physical world.

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