Basically, digitisation refers to the conversion of analogue into digital formats.
Letters become emails, conversations become chats, lists become notes, analogue photos become pictures on a memory card. Things become entities or database entries with links between them. This is pleasant, but no longer groundbreaking. The real achievement of digital transformation is the transfer of all analogue processes into digital format. This allows processes to be automated on the one hand, and made more understandable to people on the other. This is done, for example, by means of a graphical representation. The networking of all measures and processes with each other ensures the breaking down of all communication barriers and revolutionises the way people live together and interact with things in equal measure.
Digitisation not only affects interpersonal communication, but also transfers to communication between people and devices or even between machines themselves. This is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). The resulting possibilities cannot yet be assessed in their entirety, but some concrete examples of application already exist.
There are some examples or visions that show how digitalisation will influence us in the near future:
In addition to the concrete effects on private individuals, digitalisation has a lasting impact on every company and the entire working world in a wide variety of ways.
Before talking about the positive effects of digitalisation in the economy, public discourse always focuses first on the possible negative consequences. Contrary to the general belief that digitalisation is a "job destroyer", numerous studies show that digital change actually creates jobs. Companies only need to realign themselves in this regard, as monotonous activities such as archiving etc. are eliminated and resources are freed up for more creative, demanding activities.
As a first step, companies must ensure a modern infrastructure. This includes, for example, that inventory lists, offers or templates are no longer filed, but stored and processed digitally. General company communication can also be handled by means of internal chat programmes. Applications are no longer processed via printed application documents, but on the basis of digital documents or even a job portal.
Communication, work processes and regular procedures are also handled digitally. The area of external presentation is also shifting to in-house or external digital platforms such as blogs, news areas or social media.
All internal and external processes generate a veritable flood of digital data. This big data can be digitally analysed and individually evaluated on the basis of defined parameters, from which in turn conclusions can be drawn for all departments.
These insights are of great importance not only for global players, but can also support companies in the SME, craft or even agricultural sectors in particular. Even the smallest companies can optimise their processes with relatively little effort. Digitisation thus sometimes helps to secure a company's existence!
The topic is so relevant that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI) supports companies in SMEs financially in transforming their digital strategy with the go-digital funding programme!
We support you with digitalisation.
Of course, digitalisation does not only affect companies; it is above all the employees themselves who are influenced by it. Thanks to the digital transformation, individual processes are much more networked and can be made available at any time via central platforms and mobile devices. Since every employee can now theoretically access all information, effectiveness and the sense of community increase. Thanks to flexible forms of work such as home office or services like MDM and MAM, employees no longer necessarily have to work in the office, but can also access all information from home or on the road. This also greatly reduces the workload of field staff.
In the future, catalogues and brochures will no longer have to be lugged to the customer, as this information will be available digitally. Using augmented reality, sales representatives can even show a potential customer future facilities live on the display.
Crowdworking allows teams from completely different regions to participate and contribute to the same process. This decentralisation and "de-centralisation" ensures greater effectiveness and at the same time greater flexibility. Those who still like to sit in the same office with their colleagues can of course continue to do so. Ultimately, however, both employers and employees benefit from the broken structures.
Under no circumstances should such a major incision in the corporate culture be made arbitrarily. Rather, the digital transformation must be thoroughly prepared and focused on the most important corporate processes.
In order to complete the process as effectively as possible and make positive effects immediately noticeable, it is helpful to address some important factors. The company-specific digitalisation strategy should consider the following areas:
Observe analysis results
Before the decision is made regarding increased digitalisation and a reorganisation of the company structure, but also during the entire process, it is imperative that all data is collected and continuously analysed. This is the only way to ensure that the process runs correctly and mistakes are avoided.
Create added value
Additional digitalisation is pointless if it does not create added value for the company, the employees and the customers. Companies must consider in their strategic orientation how all areas can benefit. Only then can appropriate measures be taken to satisfy all partners involved.
This is accompanied by the precise consideration of how individual processes and areas can be improved or redesigned through increasing digitalisation. Creative, innovative solutions create added value and save resources.
Adapt corporate strategy
The digitisation strategy inevitably has a major impact on the entire corporate strategy. Increasing digitalisation affects too many areas and is too important for it not to affect the entire corporate orientation. This point must be taken into account and understood in advance.
All or nothing
Digital transformation affects every single employee and every process in the company. It gives the analysis carried out in advance a positive result and if the change is stimulated, there is almost no turning back. In this phase, companies must no longer hesitate, but complete the entire process. Only then can positive effects be achieved.
In the course of digitalisation, the keyword "Industry 4.0" or "Digitalisation 4.0" often comes up. The unspeakable versioning simply means that we are crossing the threshold of a new revolution. After water and steam power (first industrial revolution), assembly line production (second industrial revolution), the first use of electronics and IT (third revolution), we are now experiencing the digitalisation and networking of processes, services and production.
Machines communicate with each other, are capable of learning, draw conclusions from data sets and work, controlled by humans, partly autonomously. Only time will tell to what extent this controversial term will prevail. However, Digitalisation 4.0 at least draws attention to the earth-shattering possibilities that are developing before our eyes.
Digitalisation is synonymous with an extreme intervention in our working world as well as our private lives. Although communication possibilities have always improved, the current development is incomparable in terms of relevance and speed. Therefore, both positive and negative factors occur here as well.
Opportunities of digitalisation
The advantages of digitalisation such as complete networking, machine learning and process optimisation have already been discussed in the course of this text. Basically, digitalisation helps to optimise regular processes or to take them over completely. The resulting free time can be put into other activities, increasing overall effectiveness and quality of life. Used correctly, the digital transformation supports private individuals and companies alike.
Risks of digitalisation
The often feared loss of jobs cannot be assumed as a risk, on the contrary. Digitisation only increases the need for workers, only the areas change.
However, the high level of technical development can lead to many people feeling overwhelmed or deterred. Especially in an increasingly older society, which is sometimes not very tech-savvy, the potential tends to meet with a lack of understanding. The nationwide network coverage can also be unsettling.
The fact that the digital transformation will lead to permanent availability, and in some cases already has, is not a lie. This increases the pressure to communicate and perform, as people are constantly forced to communicate even faster and better. The number of "digital detox" offers, i.e. seminars and holidays without digital availability, is already rising sharply. The higher the level of digitalisation, the greater the risk of being overwhelmed. In addition to the digital growth, the awareness and the possibilities for retreat must grow just as strongly.
The greater the degree of digitalisation, the more security gaps and points of attack arise. Here, too, it is extremely important not to disregard security concerns despite all the opportunities.
Digital change can no longer be stopped, but is developing at a rapid pace. Especially from a company's point of view, it is inevitable to deal with opportunities and risks and to examine how one's own company can be digitised. A strong partner shows companies what opportunities exist and can even implement them directly.
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