From the vision to transformation: Digitalization must be given top priority

Digitalization is high on the agenda of many industrial companies. In times of rapid change, it is vital that companies at least maintain their position in industry or preferably become a digital pioneer, and thus create more value for customers, employees and shareholders. Nevertheless, the current Bain Brief "Digital 360 Readiness Scorecard & Digital 360 Barometer" reveals that at the moment only about 5 percent of all companies achieve their digital goals. There are four reasons for this:

  1. The importance of digitalization is still being underestimated.
  2. Companies often only engage in lighthouse projects rather than tackle a systematic digital transformation.
  3. They mostly take a half-hearted approach to tackling the necessary digital transformation.
  4. The pace of implementation and competence development is too slow.

In fact, a certain number of top managers actually consider the urgency of digitalization to be only moderate. Others believe they already have enough on their hands with sporadic digital initiatives. And some believe that it’s up to the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to take care of all of this.

Digitalization is often outsourced to the CDO, yet this person does not have sufficient decision-making powers or the necessary resources. The whole endeavor is therefore destined to fail. The company as a whole must meet the challenge of digitalization. This means that top management must have central responsibility for the digital transformation.

Digital transformation represents a company-wide transformation with implications at all levels. It is a cultural transformation that enables all customer-driven departments to operate more independently and the company to become more resourceful. It is a program aimed at enhancing efficiency that employs digital instruments in order to recover costs, at least in the medium term. And it is a central element of corporate strategy that will determine a company’s future positioning in the market.


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