How to make digitalisation projects a success

Industry sectors at a crossroad

Have domestic companies already arrived in the era of digitalisation? What do they need to successfully implement digital projects? Christian Krenn, Business Development Manager at DCCS, reports on his practical experiences.

Most large companies have already firmly embedded the topic of digitalisation in their strategy. Meanwhile, many medium-sized companies are also dealing with digital transformation, and only companies in traditional industries are still reluctant to take up the challenge. Digitalisation projects focus on three areas: New business models, automation or digitalisation of processes and changes in management and corporate culture.  

Study confirmed trend as early as 2019
A study conducted by the inspection and consulting organisation EY* confirmed that digitalisation has become a topic among domestic medium-sized companies: Digital technology plays a big role in 73 per cent of Austrian small- and medium-sized companies. One year before it was only 56 per cent. Only six per cent of medium-sized companies completely ignore digitalisation with 20 per cent in 2018. Depending on the size of the organisation, a gradient in optimism becomes evident: While large companies see digital technology as an opportunity (88 per cent), small companies are more sceptical (73 per cent).

Issues in practical application
Despite the positive development, digitalisation is still running into obstacles. Medium-sized companies, for example, often struggle with processes that are not being documented. Large companies, on the other hand, have their problems with process limits, different views on data, a lack of data quality or lack of access to information. Clearly defined processes and a uniform view on data as well as taking into account the entire life cycle are the foundation for every digital product and service. Often, domain limits – for instance between Procurement, Production and After-Sales – pose additional obstacles.  

A need for digital strategies and a culture of innovation
So, what’s the key to making digitalisation projects a success? Digitalisation must be rooted in the management, for example with a chief digitalisation officer, rather than just in the IT Department, to allow for a strategic and holistic perspective. It is crucial to create the right environment to allow for innovation, change and experimentation. Agile, inter-disciplinary models are typical for digital strategies. However, external support is most often required to determine where digitalisation potential exists in one’s own company. Competent IT service providers can serve a support role in this context. It’s a good idea to work with such experts to completely scrutinise the entire value creation chain, derive a strategy and implement the projects with the highest value for the company with a clear focus.

A need for action
Without a doubt, the digital transformation affects practically all sectors. The question is how quickly one has to act. Certain industries – such as energy and banking – are already feeling massive pressure. The automotive industry is also affected by colossal shifts thanks to alternative mobility concepts. In these sectors, new services are already being created and manufacturers increasingly link with each other. Cut-throat competition from digital business models and platforms is particularly strong for some companies, such as producers of C-parts.  

Seizing opportunities
Many companies are still anxious about the digital transformation because it brings change. Nevertheless, one should seize the opportunity to start projects in this area, gain experience and achieve initial success. An external, competent partner provides valuable help in this respect, in order to get an outside view, to contribute digitalisation experience, to jointly develop a suitable strategy and to support in its implementation. At the end of the day you should have a clear picture of what digitalisation means for your own company, how to generate added value and how to use the digital change to make your business future-proof. Action is required, because waiting spells stagnation.

DI Christian Krenn, the author of this article is the Business Development Manager at DCCS GmbH
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