Hasty vs. Strategic: Digitalisation in Germany
Executive Education / 29 April 2020
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Project Management Product Manager
Barbara Rave (M.A.) is a product manager in Frankfurt School’s Professional & Executive Education department. She designs continuing education programmes covering Strategy & Change Management and Technology & Operations.

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It has long been known that Germany is struggling with digitalisation. Despite enormous glimmers of hope that emerged during the Corona crisis in the form of mobile work and the use of modern communication tools, the process is generally only progressing slowly.

This may also be due to the fact that the word “digitalisation” is not clearly defined, but offers plenty of room for interpretation. When a term can be stretched to mean just about anything, it starts to mean nothing.

Urgency, but no clarity

Many companies therefore agree to leave the significance open, but rate the urgency of implementing initial measures as very high. This is a risky attitude – because in the final analysis, it means that the digital transformation within these companies will most likely fail. In fact, the percentage of failed digitalisation strategies is 70 – 80%: A study by Accenture found that four out of five pilot projects initially fail. It is possible that these unsuccessful rush jobs are related to the insufficiently defined goals.

Despite the high investments often made in connection with digital transformation projects, great discipline is rarely applied. Pioneers and experts therefore recommend increased precision and a focus on the expansion of suitable technology, the latter is said to be the heart of digitalisation. It is less about running a successful TikTok channel, bringing the most popular influencers on board or landing a viral hit on Facebook – a modern company is characterized by a holistic digital strategy. In order to pave the way to digital business, those who are responsible should meet at regular kick-off meetings to identify milestones of the project as well as to clearly highlight the resources. The open questions must be clarified: What should the realignment of the models and processes look like? What value does this have for the customer experience? Does this increase the efficiency of the own employees?

The process can be illustrated using a simple example: If you want to change professionally or personally, you must first be aware of what you want to do instead or who you want to be. Then you can take the steps that will bring you to your goal.

Planning is precious

In the current situation, it is once again clear that more digitalised companies are much more difficult to attack. They are more resilient, especially in times of crisis. In addition, they see themselves in a position to keep their core business running and continue to generate revenue. This is not only good for their own growth, but also stabilises the economy and the labour market. The digital economy is thus no longer just a growth engine, but a gain in security.

Do you want to become a long-term player in the digital change and no longer be a short-term catalyst? The certificate course in “Project Manager” equips you with the knowledge you need to plan and implement a successful digital strategy. Please don’t hesitate to contact us personally!