“Digital transformation in your company? Stay in or drop out!”

In a rapidly changing digital world, you have to tag along as a company. “But,” says enterprise architect Jordy Dekker, “Digitization is not a goal in itself!”
From a company app to chat function and from a new tool to hold a conference call to analyzing online data to optimize sales. They are all digital projects that a company can focus on. But digitization is also taking place outside of business services and human activities are increasingly being automated. “You already see it a lot in the world of logistics. Robots that perform a simple operation in a factory, automatically controlled forklifts that drive pallets or a cobot, a mini-robot, which walks along with a warehouse employee to help with order picking.”
Automation is also the order of the day in banking and governments. “In these sectors, projects are often decentralized, but centrally managed. Moreover, they are sectors that have to deal with rapidly changing laws and regulations, but meanwhile have to continue to serve the citizen or customer properly, which makes it complex. ”According to Dekker, organizations can no longer ignore it. “It’s about staying in or dropping out. Look at the retail. Since the opening of web shops, physical stores have been struggling. If they don’t have a web shop on the side or offer added value in some other way, they will not cope anymore. If you do not participate in innovation, in digital transformation, it will simply stop.”
It is remarkable that the speed of new projects within a company is a lot higher than thirty years ago. “The changes are going fast, the problem is that implementing these changes sometimes turns out to be more difficult than expected.” According to Dekker, this is because companies do not know how they operate and what the company stands for. “Organizations often have no idea and that is a pitfall when you want to innovate. What kind of organization do you have? How do internal processes work? How flexible is your IT? By first gaining insight into these types of issues, you will get a good picture of how your company is functioning and where there may be problems. I sometimes compare it to the anatomy of a human being and the desire to be able to make a better version of yourself and to stay young and healthy for an infinite length of time. The company wants to achieve the same through digitization, but for that you have to know, just like with anatomy, what all the limbs look like so you can transform into high-tech robot arms in conjunction.”

‘If everyone stays on their own island, you won’t get anywhere’

Another pitfall is digitizing just for the digitizing. “That, how strange it may sound in this context, is not a goal in itself. It’s about questions like: how can I optimize business processes? How can I generate new revenue models? The goal is to improve something. Take a company such as Albert Heijn. They have been around for over a hundred years, but know exactly who they are and keep up with the changes. Their online delivery service was very innovative. They did this not only because they wanted to go digital, but because they wanted to create a new revenue model. A substantial difference.”
According to Dekker, a final tip to make digital transformation a success is to use an online platform where all employees can work in. “Create a central platform with personalized overviews to support your transformation. Here, information about business operations, IT and data can be collected centrally, viewed by everyone and re-used. A big advantage is that with such a platform the gap between management and organization is closed immediately because everyone can share information at the same place. The strength nowadays lies mainly in sharing information, innovating and working together in a powerful way. If everyone stays on their own island, you won’t get anywhere.”