„It’s People Who Make It Work“—Creating Value Through Digitalization Means Ensuring That People Are On Board
On October 15th Henrichsen AG hosted another very informative SolutionDay conference in Munich. Several interesting keynote speakers gave presentations on digital transformation, how it will affect business processes, and how they’ll have to grow and change in the future. The focus was on controlling sales, service and production processes using homogenous, centralized, and user-friendly data and applications. More specifically, Henrichsen AG succeeded in shining a spotlight on the role of people in this age of digital change. The firm’s motto, as voiced by founder Holger Henrichsen, is „It’s people who make it work“, and that perspective is more relevant than ever as the digital transformation works its effects on processes involving sales, customers, teams, users and last but not least the value chain.
Change Is An Executive Issue
From the start, the kickoff presentation delivered by Henrichsen employee Thomas Jürgens had the participants’ full attention. Referring to a study by Gartner, he presented the thesis that by 2017, up to 20% of today’s leading companies will lose their positions to companies that were founded after 2000. The first keynote speech by Thomas Lang, president of the National Association of Sales Managers, picked up the thread and offered the audience exciting insights into the topic of change management. Calling upon a range of examples, he argued that changes will spread through all areas of business life and that, in the final stage, the focus will be on the customer. In short, involving the customer will be an increasingly important building block of success. Lang sees responsibility for changed (and changing) business processes as well as digitalization as a matter not for just for CIOs or COOs but for CEOs. Changes with such far-reaching consequences are matters for the highest executive echelons. Quoting Albert Einstein, Lang emphasized the importance of actively shaping these transformative processes: „The purest form of insanity is to leave everything as it is and at the same time to hope that things will change.“
Die Notwenigkeit diesen Transformationsprozess aktiv zu gestalten, brachte ein von Herrn Lang eingebrachtes Zitat von Albert Einstein auf den Punkt: „Die reinste Form des Wahnsinns ist es, alles beim Alten zu lassen und gleichzeitig zu hoffen, dass sich etwas ändert“.
It’s Not Software But Integrative Processes That Make The Difference
The next talk, by Henrichsen AG’s division managers, proved to be of great practical value. They delivered an interesting and conclusive presentation on how the digital transformation will impact all business processes, from sales to tenders to project management to billing. Via an integrated platform with a 360° view they showed how integrated processes can be processed quickly and comprehensively. Such integration enables control of all customer data, processes, emails, social media information and other documents. It became clear that it is not about forcing employees into one and the same platform but instead about being able to access centralized data and information via various programs. At the same time, such an application makes it possible to establish integrated processes. But the presenters did not just present impressive dashboards and intuitive operations. They also emphasized the importance of actively bringing the new digital processes closer to employees. The early integration of employees is essential for maximum value creation because it enables time and location-independent teamwork in the sense of customer projects.
Learning and Working 4.0
The keynote delivered by Thomas Roth, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, delivered tantalizing glimpses of the working world of tomorrow. The focus was on topics like integrated processes, work 4.0 and integrated training and business processes. One development in particular is driving the importance of continual competence building and expansion and new supporting technologies: since 2010, the percentage of work that is more than just a matter of routine tasks has markedly increased. While it was 25% in 2010, in 2015 it has increased to 40% and is rising rapidly. Issues like social networking, information exchange and continually learning new applications will thus become central factors for business success. Properly equipped employees trigger this development. The latest video on work in the future engagingly reinforced the keynote’s message. Fittingly, moderator Thomas Jürgens referred to the fact that Microsoft increasingly places people in the focus of the digital transformation where a few years ago it was all about the newest technologies. Roth once again spoke about the rise of „non-routine work“, a term coming into increasing use. Technology can only support human beings, at least in the case of processes that are not purely machine-controlled.
Video: Productivity Future Vision von Microsoft
In the concluding panel discussion, all the participants agreed that the most important challenge that we all currently face is mastering fast-paced and ever-shifting digital processes. In this context, it is important to design and explain the processes in such a way that people accept them and help carry them. It is not a matter of having employees function as their own bosses, but rather of ensuring that they understand the digital transformation and actively help shape it. The way it is presented plays an important role here. Employing the right kind of learning and training media can ensure that people are integrated in the change processes.
Fabian Henrichsen, embracing his role in imagining the future of business, concluded that the introduction of practical, easily understood solutions will be the turning point in the digital transformation. The flood of information must be mastered and information logistics is the foundation of success. In his view, the human being is still the center of interest—as the bearer and user of the digital transformation. He concluded with the words, „It’s people who make it work.“
Photos: © Henrichsen AG