1chSTo be successful in today’s digitally driven world, it takes a functioning change management to keep up with the constant business transformation. The top management no longer asks about the ‘if’, but ‘how’ to handle the digital change processes.

Indeed, it is no longer done with a few digital features here and some Facebook posts there, rather a fundamental rethinking is required to embed the digital change in the own business processes. "Lead, don’t follow" is the motto.

David Bowie characterizes this motto better than anybody else and made “The only constant is change” his credo, pioneering creativity by always embracing the strange. In the era of digital transformation, new thinking, technologies and applications need to be implemented – constantly - and old processes thrown overboard to make way for innovations.

So, ‘turn and face the strange’! The following tips might help you on your way to transform for success:

#1: Create new processes

Process optimization has always been an important domain for CEOs. It is, however, not always enough to just optimize processes. In the digital age, a simple adaptation of existing processes usually falls too short, as the pure digitizing of analog processes is not a functioning concept. Completely rethink your business model instead and ask yourself what your target audience really expects from you today.

#2: Embrace new technologies

The digital competition never sleeps, therefore make use of new technology and go unknown paths in order to enable the transformation in your company. New technologies help you to accelerate development and reduce costs, but make sure to opt for the right technologies not to turn quickly from leader to follower. Recognize new trends and rethink in agile processes, whether novelties can be useful for your business. For instance, the use of HTML5 can bring many benefits for the digital transformation: The desire for more multimedia content in the network is inevitably linked to the success story of HTML5, as it paves the way for mobile devices, the use of augmented reality or the Internet of Things, into digital business strategies.

#3: Break with hierarchies

Digital business transformation is primarily the responsibility of the top management, but more important is to live openness in the company. In the digital era, the classic hierarchies are often only creating hot air. Nowadays, only those who have a clue win, even if it is the IT intern, hence, make use of the knowledge of the ‘digital natives’.

#4: Scrutinize services

Completely new and digital business models have already let some traditional providers be snookered. Whoever is falling behind, has already lost. Young startups manage to displace long-established companies in a matter of just months or years. The rapid digital transformation is an important reason to question your very own products and services - and to refocus. Is my service still relevant? Is an app possibly worthwhile? Do I catch my users on the social channels optimally? All these questions can sustainably improve your product portfolio.

#5: Learn from startups

Established companies have great success for decades and often longer with their business model. They are experts in their field and always are able to have the customer wishes fulfilled. If they are lucky, they might continue to succeed in the future with their existing business model, but probably there will be only very few, as ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are becoming the norm.

The mail-order catalog, for instance, made the triumph of mass fashion possible in the first place. Today, the online store has almost completely taken over. Identify phase-out models in your business concept and replace them with promising technologies and strategies. Be geared to the operation of startups that question their practices on a daily basis and replace them spontaneously when needed with better ideas. Do not hold on to the old, ‘fixed’ behavior patterns, but welcome new ideas and methods.

You might want to reconsider introducing iBeacons for digital change at the PoS? Through location-based advertising purposes - with so-called proximity marketing - customers can be guided directly into your shop. The possibilities are literally endless: By means of iBeacons, bars can give discounts on certain drinks, and fashion shops can send individual offers, not to mention that customers who visit the same shop more often could obtain vouchers or coupons. Since digitization already went from “good to have” to “must-have”, it is recommended not to waste unused opportunities, instead try to figure out where digital potential is still hidden in your company.

By Daniela La Marca