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Part 3: How to get your company on the right track.

One possible way forward for small and medium-sized businesses already emerges from the areas of conflict relating to digitisation set out in part 2. It is definitely a long road, but one that sooner or later all employees will have to travel. There are many aspects of digitisation that require the constant attention of the company management. These are not one-off decisions that will leave them in peace once they have decided which direction to take. However, anyone who manages his company well using "existing" principles will have no problem integrating digitisation.


The first step is to create a joint understanding of the aspects, principles and effects of digitisation in the company. A good way of doing this is to provide in-house workshops, attended, if possible, by all divisions. A joint understanding created in this way facilitates the interdisciplinary development of promising strategies.

Digitisation check

Then everyone can work together to establish the company's position with regard to various aspects of digitisation (also in a comparison with its competitors). This then produces starting points for initial digitisation activities.


For a digitisation strategy to be effective, it is essential to be quite clear about actual and desired processes. Unfortunately, there are often negative reactions on the part of employees in this area. Frustrations arising from the introduction of powerful ERP systems exist, and these can make it difficult to work properly on the processes important for digitisation. It therefore makes sense to handle a small area where there are regular difficulties first. With the help of a suitable business process modelling system, it is possible to quickly work out a solution in areas like these. The positive experience the employees take from this first step then makes it possible to move ahead more rapidly with designing the process. If they can see a benefit to themselves, then employees tend to be open to changes. (This is the case, for example, once they see how easily digitised travel expense accounting can be handled.)


Once the processes have been clarified, it is time to give some thought to system support. At this point, it is important to decide whether you want to operate large, complex IT systems. Digitisation offers the chance to integrate small, specialised systems, and this makes it possible to achieve consistency and react quickly to changes. Today's problems with data consistency result mainly from the inflexibility of powerful systems.


Digitisation provides good chances for people and entities who, within a given framework, quite deliberately go their own way. The important thing is that, right from the start, all company divisions, but ultimately all employees, should have a joint understanding of the technological possibilities and other aspects of digitisation. If this is the case, then it is easier for every company to find the right way forward with the help of new technical means available.