HomeBUSINESSDigitization In Medium-Sized Companies: Small Steps To Giant Leaps

Digitization In Medium-Sized Companies: Small Steps To Giant Leaps

Digitization – How quickly and consistently medium-sized companies digitize depends above all on their size. Are you still lagging? Or are you already at the forefront? Studies on digitization in medium-sized companies like to sketch either only one picture or the other. As is so often, the reality is not black and white, but colorful, with many nuances – and must be viewed in a differentiated manner. While some companies are already using robots, virtual reality or artificial intelligence, others are busy faxing.

The management consultancy Ernst & Young sees a ” digitization of the two speeds in medium-sized companies “. How quickly, consistently and successfully medium-sized companies digitize in this country depends on size, industry and location. There are very different framework conditions for digital progress between east and west, north and south. Nevertheless, there is common sense: there is no getting around more investments, know-how, and courageous projects. Above all, the hidden champions, the secret world market leaders, must finally become digital champions.

Digitization In Medium-Sized Businesses: Recognizing The Value Of Data

The reason – developing new business models, winning new customers, keeping up with the global competition, creating efficiency, saving time and costs – is clear to everyone. The show is sometimes a challenge. But not every company has to and cannot become a digital champion overnight. Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. We have to start with small – well thought out, strategic – steps to make giant leaps.

The first step, which is more accessible than many think, is: to make better use of the opportunities offered by data analysis. Medium-sized entrepreneurs are still too seldom aware of the value of their data treasures. A significant mistake when you consider that most companies now have petabytes of them: machine data, sensor data, customer data, material lists, inventory levels, financial data, social media, to name just a few. To make sense of them, they have to be filtered out, connections identified, and fields of application used.

Learn From The Success Of Big Companies

There are enough of them, too: If, for example, Siemens Healthiness successfully maintains medical technology devices with data, detects anomalies and thus prevents expensive failures, why shouldn’t a mechanical engineering company in the Swabian Alb do the same? After all, predictive maintenance saves a lot of time and money.

If Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company for container ships, can use data to whip up its logistics chain, why not an auto supplier from Saxony-Anhalt too? If large retail chains evaluate their data to optimize the customer experience, calculate prices better, and make stores more attractive, why not a retailer in Westphalia too? Those who know their data also understand their company and their customers better.

Digitization In Medium-Sized Businesses: Vision, Action And Speed

So why not? While Bytom studies show that big data, cloud and artificial intelligence are of central importance for most medium-sized companies, a large-scale Commerzbank study in 2018 only sees data analyzes in use by around every tenth medium-sized company.

Many companies don’t know where to start at first. The image still prevails that data analysis requires exceptionally complex technology. And to make sense of it, you have to be an IT professional yourself who can program in your sleep. In the meantime, however, there have long been low-cost platforms for data analysis from the cloud, which any manager, no matter how non-IT, can easily use in the office or the bakery. To break the discrepancy between thinking and acting, you need vision, action and speed – as Bytom President Achim Berg correctly recognized

Digitization In Medium-Sized Businesses: Inventors In The Fast Lane

So what is to be done? Digitization and especially data analysis are not just a matter of IT. This must come from the management level, and all employees from all departments must be brought on board. That’s the vision. IT then implements the initiative with the right technology, starts pilot projects, tolerates mistakes, learns from them, and does better next time. The users in the departments must also be trained on how to use the software and how to get the most out of the project. That’s the action. In no other country in the world are there as many world market leaders as, around 1,500. They are so successful because they are committed to tinkering, combined with long-term planning, specialization and perfection. That’s the speed – more of it, please. 

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