WHAT DOES IT MEAN
Up to now I have dealt with the issue of digital as an export accelerator: 8 Digital Tools for SMEs: A Manual for Improving Export Strategies. But digital transformation (DT) should actually be company-wide.
DT in a small-medium manufacturing company must lead to a change in its way of operating and managing processes through the use of advanced technologies; as an alternative to the manual ones. This innovation involves all areas and not just those that are more linked to the technological and production sphere; which is what usually gets involved first.
THE ADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
The most visible advantage of DT is that of greater production efficiency and therefore a reduction in operating costs. But not only; DT leads to other improvements. For example, to a greater responsiveness in the marketing of a product. Or an improvement in the relationship with customers (current and potential) with customized products and services. Up to the experimentation of new business models.
“In every field where digital has entered, it has reduced costs and lowered barriers to accessibility, disintermediating a process that usually saw only a few specific subjects as service providers, while now new players have come into play, also because the sectors’ boundaries have become less clear-cut”. Francesco Caio and Pierangelo Soldavini talk about it in their book Digitization, for a New Italian Renaissance.
3 TIPS TO IMPLEMENT IT SUCCESSFULLY
- However, the simple inclusion of new digital tools in the company is not always sufficient to initiate this change. DT often involves a redefinition of work processes and therefore of roles. In the company, DT is bound to fail if it doesn’t involve people as well. This means first of all explaining clearly “why these changes are being introduced”.
- Digital transformation must also be consistent with the company’s values and goals. DT is first and foremost a cultural change!
- Finally, it is advisable to take small steps, obviously within an overall strategy. In other words, implement a scalable DT; not a big leap.
We talked about these issues at the last meeting of the Leading Network association.