Translation of the Original Article by Sebastian Thielke
It echoes from all sides: The digital revolution lies ahead and we are in the middle of it. But the voices that say that, also exclaim that Germany is a digital wasteland. The different authors refer mainly to the infrastructure and the often not so good development of data connections. Naturally, this is a necessary foundation for the digitization and the digital transformation. However, the digital transformation may not be just considered at this level. Many of the German companies are in the middle of change despite the talk of the digital desert. They align processes, production and, indeed, communication and cooperation to the new demands of the digital world. They show initiative. However, what is missing is the courage and decision, to not only try in the small "laboratory", but to implement it in all functional silos and value adding areas of business. Companies possess a digital foundation for this - the Intranet. This has, however, been overtaken by new developments and must be renewed - from the ground up.
The digital transformation is obviously the great challenge of our time. We know that old business models no longer work. What was ridiculed even just a few years ago has become the harsh reality of a struggle for survival for many companies. It was predictable that Amazon would become a successful international player. But no one expected that "beginner companies" as Uber and Airbnb would receive so much attention and market share. They have achieved this because they have aligned their business models to the digital environment. They are not just limited to the Internet, but link their products, topics and customers across all bandwidths of digital usage and beyond. These companies have the advantage that they have started in the digital economy.
From classic Enterprise into the digital economy
We are facing a bigger transformation than we can imagine. Founding of Enterprise in the digital environment upset classic value creation and even destroy entire markets. We know this disruption by the example of Kodak. However, the development does not stop here, of course. Large and established companies falter by challengers. They harm themselves by old behaviors and slow processes. Additionally the new players that are setup more flexibly surpass them in these situations. Tesla vs. VW to name only one of these cases.
We can only imagine the challenges that await us. If we just look at the different aspects of intelligent assistants alone, we quickly realize that a great deal will change for everyone in the digital transformation. What if intelligent systems or even artificial intelligences such as Watson take over our work? How do the employees see these innovations, and especially how do businesses prepare them for it? This is certainly not a question of if; it is rather a question of how quickly and competently.
The new intranet as experience and event horizon
Companies have recognized early on, that the provision and the distribution of information are important aspects in productivity in companies. They are not hygiene factors or Beauty attributes anymore. They are components of direct as well as indirect value creation of enterprises. Then there are the aspects of availability, cooperation, exchange and timeliness. If your intranet can accurately cover these aspects, then the basis for the digital transformation of the company is established. The understanding, acceptance and change per se are only successfully produced and mastered for all stakeholders of the company with the aid of a common platform.
The right platform offers the possibility of a fast and flexible cooperation, of current and timely exchange and unimpeded flow of important and crucial information.
How this Intranet is designed is no longer bound to a specific form. Rather, the form adapts to the company and thereby enables the seamless, simple as well as meaningful work on the platform, or indeed through the intranet. The Internet is thus the constant part of the workplace and of the employees, who sometimes change the terminal from laptop to smartphone as needed - or to the tablet and back again.
I think it is important that one has to break away from the classical portal design and websites and should rather see the Intranet as labor-empowering and enabling cross-linking workplace solution in the background. The website with which we launch the Intranet is no longer appropriate as an image and application. Rather, collaboration platforms, mobile apps or integrations are the accepted solutions. The focus is always simplicity and facilitating of the daily work.
Goal: The digitally educated employee
If the company develops based on such an intranet or platform, it also provides the basis for further digital transformation topics. Above all, it is also an acceptance-, understanding- and implementation- platform for all components of the digital transformation. Reactions can coordinate and develop cooperation in the projects, decisions and communication work more quickly and accurately and the company is growing into a reactive and flexible organizational body. In many cases, you could even claim that companies gain momentum and innovation.
Let us empower the employees to work digitally, to communicate to and think, then the digital transformations will succeed accordingly and we avoid the development of a digital divide between man and machine.
Lay the foundations before the transformation
So, use the opportunity that comes with the great departure! Look at your Intranet and locate the points that are important to expand or remodel. Ask yourself the question, if your information platform complies with the requirements of digitization and networking of a company:
· Exchange and Communication
· Sharing of Information
· Common workspaces
· Usage adaptable to devices
· A simple instrument for the employee
If you look at these points, then you will surely notice that there is plenty to do. Make your employees the focus of change and align the redesign of your intranet according to the people and the digitization of your company.
Only if your employees are working digitally, then your business will go digital.