A lack of digitization know-how leads to wrong decisions in SMBs
The most important findings of my bachelor thesis – rely on digitization know-how!
Digitization or digital transformation ?! New Work, Big Data, Internet of Things, New Economy, Cloud … just to name a few buzzwords in the course of digitization. A jumble of terms was buzzing in my head when I started my bachelor thesis “Digitization of SMBs”. I realized quickly; anyone who wants to advance digitization projects should know what they are talking about! I found it difficult to classify or understand all the topics and terms relating to digitization and IT. The big picture did not materialize. I wondered; is it just me ?! How do small companies or SMBs tackle digitization without a specialist IT department or without digitization know-how ?! – This was then the central question of my bachelor thesis, which I worked on as part of my business studies.
It quickly became clear to me that I was not “just” aiming for another theoretical paper on digitization, but that I wanted to gain a practical insight. To this end, I had a series of discussions with SMB customers of redIT. On the one hand, I asked them about the redIT’s digitization products; on the other hand, I wanted to find out the relevance and status of digitization in the various industries. I quickly realized; the chaos is not just in my head. Constantly new trends, the multitude of product offerings and above all the complexity of the topics related to digitization cause headaches for many companies.
In the end, wrong decisions are often made and the digitization solutions are a patchwork that do not bring the desired results and even cause high follow-up costs. Therefore, the desire for a partner who has both IT and business know-how and who comprehensively supports the introduction of digitization solutions is very high.
So what is the right approach? After hours of research in books, journals and articles, I came across a study by the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW). Marc Peter developed seven fields of action for digitization, which turned out to be a very helpful digitization framework. You have to know where you stand as a company and where to set priorities. In the discussions, however, it became clear that the companies only had limited know-how in the technology-relevant fields of action. This fact is due to the lack of an internal IT department. Often the responsibilities lie with the managing director, who has to concentrate on the core business in order to keep operations going.
Another finding was that topics related to digitization are sometimes treated light-minded. For many respondents, digitization includes two core topics – “going paperless” and “working anywhere and anytime” – but digitization means a lot more and an important success factor is a strong partner with a holistic digitization offer.
Text & Bachelor thesis by Alessia Baumann
Image source: FHNW, 2017