People - 18.04.2018 - 00:00 

Practical Instrument for Digital Transformation

Digitisation presents companies with challenges. How should they approach this task and implement it successfully within the company? In her dissertation, Sabine Berghaus has developed an instrument to support companies with their digital transformation.

18 April 2018. As a designer of digital solutions in various agencies, Sabine Berghaus has always enjoyed exchanging information with other specialists, be it in technical articles or talks at conferences. However, she wanted to think about the mechanisms and challenges of digitisation from a design perspective – away from her daily project requirements. This is something she has done and investigated in her dissertation "The Fuzzy Front End of Digital Transformation: Activities and Approaches for Initiating Organizational Change Strategies," which looks into how companies can get started with digitisation and launch the change process.

A different approach
"Although continuous change is a part of everyday life, the changes posed by digitisation present companies with challenges," says Sabine Berghaus. Many managers would have difficulties introducing a comprehensive change process in their companies. This is because digital transformation affects the strategy and business model as well as the organisation, the processes and the corporate culture. "I have realised that managers have different approaches for how their companies approach the subject of digital transformation." Some experiment with new digital solutions, others take a strategic approach and start with determining where they currently are, in order to derive areas of action.

Own model developed to measure digital maturity
"Many experts agree that we in Europe need to increase our efforts when it comes to designing the digitisation process for companies," says Sabine Berghaus. In order to identify the levels of digital maturity in companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, she developed a "Digital Maturity Model" at the Institute of Information Management and surveyed companies each year with the "Digital Maturity Check". This showed that the questionnaire is an important instrument for managers, be it for triggering discussions in companies, identifying areas of activity or identifying internal differences in perceptions.

Digitally mature companies are more open to innovation
"One thing that was especially interesting for me was the correlation between maturity and the activities during the initial phases of a digital transformation," says Berghaus. Companies with a high level of digital maturity were a lot more open to innovation and were more strategic than companies with a low level of maturity. These frequently think about their IT first. Berghaus's dissertation provides companies with the "Digital Maturity Check", a practical instrument that shows various dimensions of how digital transformation can be approached. "I hope this encourages SMEs and companies with a more traditional mindset to look into this topic more intensively." Berghaus provides these companies with direct advice and supports them with the development of new digital solutions - however, not via an agency, but in her own company.

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