Top notch manufacturing organisations, like Siemens, that have reached top levels of digital maturity or that started already as digital businesses are perceived as ‘being digital’ by nature. For these companies a digital mindset defines their corporate behaviour and image. Rather than only digitising client touchpoints, they reimagine new ecosystems new ways of engaging with customers: new business processes or new customer journeys. When production companies start their digital transformation, they typically go through different phases. During the first periods, this always means starting on ‘doing digital’ leveraging digital solutions to maximize operations, while still working on old foundations and old mindsets, relying on traditional business, operations and thinking.
Similarly, rather than simply ‘doing’ digital projects, they have adopted an integrated strategy that makes them digital at their core.
What makes companies shift from doing digital to “being digital”?
Deloitte Research considered in his 2019 study, 9 important shifts which are necessary to move from “just” doing digital to being digital:
- Improve Agility and Speed
- Blurring boundaries between Management and IT
- Create natural Innovation and ecosystems
- Focus on the Future workforce and talent
- Governance and funding
- Modern Leadership and culture
- Organise for digital
- Organise company for data
- Organise company for cloud
Human aspects is the key in a world of machines and robots
The increasing digitisation of business and digitisation of business processes has shown that nothing works if the human element is overlooked.
Annicken Day, Digitalisation and Leadership Specialist says: “Running transformational projects based on the idea that people are machines without thoughts and emotions, is planning for failure.”
A first level is change management. It’s an old challenge that becomes ever more urgent. The digitisation of processes, deployments of digital solutions, strategic-cultural shifts, moving to a more customer-centric and integrated approach etc. all have a transformational impact, just as is the case for many business projects in general. However, the transformations are not dictated by the technology. They are defined by the goals we want to achieve and the ways in which we are organised to achieve them. In manufacturing organisations, it’s a well-known fact that many automation and implementations, in order to improve efficiency and customer service fail because there is no customer-oriented culture or mentality.
People need to learn how to collaborate, be more customer-oriented, manage their time, learn new skills and adapt to the digital world. However, digital technologies in the enterprise should also be adapted to them. Because change is not a walk in the park, not for manufacturing business and not for the majority of people. Change management is not new but it’s not enough seen as an inherent part of digitisation projects and not used enough in several divisions, depending on the organisation, that are involved in technology projects. It’s strategy and governance.
“Being digital” is by no means dehumanization. On the contrary, without strong involvement and without taking the human element into account on all levels, digital projects are doomed to fail.