The trend towards digitization is not new. Many people could not hear it anymore years ago. Everything had to become digital. Then, with the onset of the Corona crisis, everything changed. Digitization was now no longer just a trend or desirable goal, but suddenly crucial for all of us.
Those who were already digitally positioned in times of crisis, or who maintained an organizational structure that allowed rapid digitization, had a very clear advantage. This applied to companies, private individuals and institutions alike. But there were still many who didn’t manage to digitize or, due to the turbulent times, were unable to shoulder this challenge.
We all hope that the crisis and its damaging impact will soon fade, but what will happen to digitization then? Digitization is not just a passing phase. The trend was already here to stay before the crisis, and now it has continued to permanently change the lives of many. But as before, some fear to lose touch and cope with the new developments and don´t know how to use them to their advantage.
We already explored why you don´t need to be afraid of digitization.
You should keep in mind that the advantages for processes of any kind outweigh the challenges. Digitization doesn´t have to be scary because it can simply consist of helpful tools such as Sharepoint or Skype for Business, just to name two of the many possibilities.
How do I benefit from such tools?
Most of the time not all people involved in a work process can be in an office at the same time to talk about the newest developments of a project, especially during the Corona pandemic. But even apart from the unique situation due to Corona, such digital tools are extremly helpful to integrate people, processes and data, for instance in complex processes in which different departments, countries or industries are involved.
„Who starts a business should think about digitization from the start“ (Airpaq.de)
In addition, of course, digitization also entails an aspect of sustainability. Digitization, sustainability, upcycling – all modern and up to date buzzwords that are increasingly important in practice because they affect and mean something to people. As a consequence, ecological and ethical values in combination with good looking products are getting more and more important for consumers and entrepreneurs – this is exactly what the two founders Adrian Goosses and Michael Widmann aim at creating with Airpaq, a cologne-based startup dedicated to making sustainable backpacks from upcycled car scrap. (You can read more about the topic sustainability in our blog series here).
Airpaq succeeds at showing that digitization simplifies inter-sectoral processes. Like in logistics, the textile sector has the possibility to process the same data through a joint platform/cloud and to prevent media disruptions or unnecessary and complicated communication via e-mail or excel lists – because restrained information flows lead to retrained productivity. After all, nerves and time are sought-after resources.
As medium-sized companies still deal with the challenges of digitization, startups are in a good position: most are digital from the beginning – a transition that still lets medium-sized companies become desperate.
Digitization means working together
Re-think, test old models and restructure – channeling the spirit of a startup can actually be helpful for established companies struggling with digitization. But it’s also worth going even one step further: As different as these worlds or organizational cultures may be, they can definitely benefit from one another. Reservations can be avoided by the exchange of strengths of both parties.
Established companies can score with longstanding experience, the startups with a digital foundation. That sounds like a fair deal, which however rarely seems to be made use of.
Let´s look at the overall development since 2017, even before the crisis:
The Bitkom survey from that year comes to the conclusion that only 18 % of medium-sized companies looked for help with regard to digitization (Source: bitkom). But meanwhile there are various offers of support.
Companies such as Telekom support other companies, that engage in the digital world. Since 2018, Masterplan took on the task to support companies with digitization as well: they don´t only help reduce fear but also offer courses. Under the motto „Digitization. Just do it“, companies can complete online courses in the form of videos and approach the topic slowly to position themselves digitally.
So offers are there and willingness probably too. If young and modern companies get together with traditional companies the digital transformation doesn´t seem as scary and much easier. Startups are not better because they are digital from the start and established companies aren´t bad or old-fashioned, if they do not transform digitally.
But no one knows what the future holds and as we have seen in times of crisis, it is strongly recommended to be optimally positioned and prepared rather than lagging behind.
And if a company decides to transform, cooperation of generations is a benefit for both. So: get together and get digital!