PTA White Paper in February:
How companies are pragmatic
be able to deal with digitisation

Digitisation is based on the combined development of ever-increasing computer power, ever-closer and more broadband networking and the ever more intensive and increasingly mobile use of digital services via the Internet. This combined development has now reached a level in the western industrial nations which, on the one hand, makes its effects felt by everyone and, on the other hand, forces companies to develop further in order to survive in the digital world.

The “noticeable effects” are quickly explained: when was the last time you collected money at a bank counter, bought a train ticket in a travel centre or checked in with a boarding pass that you did not print out yourself? But it is not only as consumers but also as employees that we are feeling the effects of digitisation. Starting with the cashier in the supermarket, who is being replaced by a digital pay machine, through the bank consultant, whose work is largely done by semi-intelligent algorithms, to the general practitioner, who not only has to deal with the half-baked Internet research of his patients, but also with their ratings on portals such as Jameda and Co.

Of course, we are also affected as entrepreneurs: self-confident customers, be they private consumers or business customers, naturally demand comprehensive digital support. Changing customer expectations and the digitally enhanced services with which they are served are having an unprecedented impact on business models, IT, organisation, processes and corporate culture. To make matters worse, the speed with which these changes (have to) take place is increasing. The changes described so far have all occurred in the last ten years. In order to be able to put the upcoming changes in more concrete terms, here are some of the effects of digitisation on various areas of the company:

Customer relations

The Internet with its countless comparison portals and social networks, where interested parties can obtain precise information about the characteristics and prices of a product/service on the one hand, and on the other hand make their criticism of once purchased products public immediately and quasi worldwide, gives the customer a power never before known. The saying “the customer is king” has never been as true as in the digital age.

Business models

It is now a well-known fact that the business models of many companies are evolving from product sellers to (digital) service providers. In order to develop digital or digitally enhanced business models, whether disruptive or evolutionary, companies need flexible and fast IT that enables them to develop, deliver, bill and continually adapt their services to rapidly changing customer needs.

Technology

Digitisation goes far beyond information processing. It has many business, organisational and cultural aspects. But IT is the foundation. Companies cannot operate their digital business models without modern IT. At the same time, with digitisation, IT and products/services are growing ever closer together. While production and product development are in some cases still separate from the company’s internal IT, these areas are merging and becoming “Operation Technology” (OT), which plays a key role in all areas of the company. This OT must be characterised not only by a high degree of flexibility and agility, which is based primarily on standardised interfaces, modularity, openness and cloud computing, but also by a large number of networked end devices and greater security. From today’s perspective, these requirements can only be realised for most companies via so-called digital business platforms, which have the desired characteristics but reduce the complexity for the application company compared to today’s business solutions.

Organization

In the future, companies will change much faster and more often than today. Whereas companies and business models used to be one, in the future companies will have to organise themselves in such a way that they not only survive business model changes, but are able to shape them themselves and benefit from them. For them, this means being able to expand their employee skills relatively quickly and change their processes quickly. This has far-reaching implications for management, work concepts, personnel development and further training programmes. Architectures must also be developed for the processes and procedures in the companies, which allow process sections to be redesigned and recombined during ongoing operations.

We are currently in the process of finalising a white paper in which we will describe on the one hand the demands that digitisation places on medium-sized companies in particular and how companies can meet these challenges and implement digitised business models and processes. With the help of its large software partners, PTA offers not only the corresponding technologies, but also a set of methods that can be used to implement your plans in a very practical way, from initial strategic considerations to process design to the selection of suitable platforms and services and the taking along of employees. The whitepaper will be published in mid-February.

We will keep you up to date on this.

Dr. Tim Walleyo, Member of the PTA Management Board

How do you approach the topic of “digitisation”?

Feel free to contact me for a professional exchange!