Seven keys to long-term digitalization

In a world where digital tools, processes and strategies are adopted by more and more organizations, the border between digital and analog work is rapidly blurring. But are companies prepared for this transition? How should a leader manage this rapid digitalization, and what can be done to remain competitive?

A digital race

There are already organizations with brand-new approaches to old issues through the medium of digitalization. These pioneers dare to question old ways of working in and organizing a company. Robot executives, digital currencies, and borderless digital residencies are only a few of the ways in which digitization takes shape in practice in the world today. They may be rare as of yet, but they indicate change on a broad scale in the near future.

The world has gotten used to the internet over the past 25 years – but we will need to adapt to new ways of thinking as a third wave of digitalization sweeps across us. The question is: Will managers and leaders have time to adapt their businesses? On average, Nordic business executives believe their current business model will last for no more than four years, before it’s in need of renewal.

Qualified or solified?

Despite a majority of Nordic business executives stating that the best strategic posture is to be an early adopter or a pioneer with regards to new technology, only a little more than one-third actually have this posture in practice. Consequently, the anticipated transformation never really arrives – perhaps because there is a worrisome gap between leadership and IT. As many as 35% of Swedish business executives state that they do not have the right qualifications to make strategic digitalization decisions – and lacking a proper digital leadership, the entire organization may come to suffer.

The difference between those who can and those who can’t may grow large. Only a minority of organizations have so far invested in digitalization with regards to new business models, innovation, or new products and services. For most Swedish business executives, digitalization is still largely a matter of financial and administrative processes – associated with fewer staff and a shrinking organization. But indefinite streamlining is simply not possible.

Dare to look farther

To survive in a turbulent environment, businesses need to adopt a more long-term approach in their digitalization strategy. As a first step, streamlining and cutting costs is good – but in the medium and long term, it’s also about gaining a true understanding of the customers’ needs, and how a digital organization can meet them. Lower costs are not always the answer.

Does your organization have the right strategy for a deeper long-term digitalization? Read the full report for seven strategic recommendations that may help you raise your gaze towards the digital horizon.

By Rikard Molander