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Author's profile photo Valeria Vinclair

Digital transformation: Shaping Cultural Change

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The digital transformation poses major challenges for companies. Not only technologically and infrastructurally, but also culturally. The introduction of new systems also requires a cultural change in the company. We show how togetherness and teamwork must change in order to emerge strengthened from digital transformation processes in the company.

The challenge of digital transformation

Digitalisation has the entire economy firmly in its grip. According to a study by the consultancy Deloitte, 73% of the companies surveyed rate digitalisation as “high” or even “very high.” While the focus of the transformation processes is on websites, e-commerce solutions and internal processes, that digitalisation will fundamentally change the market in the next five years. This is the result of a survey of 300 Swiss SMEs.

More than technology

Digital transformation refers to the transformation of business and organisational activities, processes, competencies and models to enable companies to use and leverage digital technologies to improve business processes and outcomes. But when talking about it, executives often fall back on discussing IT infrastructure, technologies and applications. But that is only part of the equation.

Digital transformation is as much about people and changing the way they approach business problems and where they look for solutions. Employees who are trapped in a ‘rigid’ mindset can slow down or worse derail the company’s digital business transformation initiatives,” he said in a statement.

On the corporate side, the use of these technologies therefore requires a fundamental rethink and a change in corporate culture.

Openness and willingness to learn as cornerstones of a digital culture

In traditionally shaped corporate structures, a restrictive error culture often prevails. Mistakes are to be avoided absolutely. This approach is increasingly proving to be unfruitful in the digitalised world. Only a culture of openness is able to keep up with an increasingly dynamic market environment. Companies should work to develop an MVP mentality, because the ability and willingness to build, measure and learn fast – or fail fast – is central to a successful digital future.

With a culture of failure also comes a culture of learning. Every team member should always be looking for opportunities to educate themselves and improve their own work. A willingness to learn cannot be prescribed, but it can be encouraged – for example, through flat hierarchies and a fail-fast culture.

Diversity as a cross-cutting requirement

Diversity means recognising the value of different perspectives and incorporating them into one’s own work process. Diversity in the context of corporate culture refers both to a diverse workforce and diverse teams, but also to diversity in decision-making.

The agile mindset from a leadership perspective

A corporate culture cannot be turned upside down overnight, nor can it be enforced by rule. It is shaped by the people who live it every day. However, management can create a framework that motivates and inspires employees. It helps to create and formulate a digital vision.

It is worth involving employees from the beginning and asking them about their ideas. This is the only way to create a sustainable culture that is shared by all employees.

Digital transformation requires a cultural change

Shaping the digital transformation in the company also means subjecting the corporate culture to change. Leadership can develop and promote a vision through targeted initiatives that effectively communicate an agenda for change and inspire an innovative environment in which teams confidently shape change.

How do you implement a digital mindset at your company and what challenges do you struggle with? We look forward to your comments! You can also find more information in the SAP Hub for SMEs: https://community.sap.com/topics/smb.

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      Author's profile photo Uwe Erdtmann
      Uwe Erdtmann

      Hi Valeria,

      I like your thoughts on how digital transformation also requires a change of mindset and corporate culture. These aspects, e.g. openness, willingness to lern, etc., are often not on top of the priority list when businesses identify the need to invest in their digital future.

      One thing I'd like to add, though. In my opinion, transforming an SMB business in a digital world also requires re-thinking the way people work - and that means for business owners to rethink the tools and infrastructure they need to provide to their employees.

      We recently tried to condense the idea of "digital workplace" in a brief video, highlighting the integration of SAP Business ByDesign into Microsoft Teams as the center of Employee collaboration. Maybe that's some food for thought on how technology can help shifting corporate culture towards a digital mindset that fosters openness and digital interaction:
      Link to the video on SAP.com

      Author's profile photo Valeria Vinclair
      Valeria Vinclair
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Uwe,

      Thank you for taking the time to write down your ideas and share them with me. Your arguments are valid and certainly persuasive. I couldn’t agree more. I checked the video and it’s on point. I hope you wouldn’t mind me using it as a reference for my future blogs. Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.