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Düsseldorf, March 29, 2018

How to face digitization? – 10 practical tips

The digital transformation presents us with major challenges, not only in our everyday life but especially in the business environment. We are right in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution and digitization is e.g. completely changing the production processes. Therefore, we would like to give you some useful tips so that you are well prepared.

1. What is digitization? 

Digitization does not mean scanning its manuals and converting them to PDF files. It is not just analogue to digital. There is much more to it: processes are fundamentally changing. Physical objects get a digital representation. In addition, the development of innovative business models, disruptive technologies and the individualization and the transition to flexible processes are consequences of digitization. It is about storing, distributing and analysing digital information using data processing systems and developing individual solutions.

2. Culture and mindset

As a result of digitization, not only business and production processes are changing. New business models also result in new ways of working. It is therefore important to create agile structures in a rapidly changing environment. The way people work together as well as the technologies are changing. Therefore, flat hierarchies and interdisciplinary, creative teams emerge frequently and drive the digital transformation. This innovation culture affects the entire company and is a necessary step towards a successful Industry 4.0 era.

3. Engage employees actively and at an early stage

The introduction of digital processes affects employees and their working environment as well. For this reason, all divisions and employees should be involved in the change and new solutions should be communicated to everyone. This creates transparency and a common basis, which is absolutely necessary, because employees must accept the new technologies. Only applications and technologies that are accepted and intuitive to use will make a lasting contribution to simplifying processes and making digitization successful.

4. Further education for digital know-how

Another important aspect is the qualification of your employees. The era of Industry 4.0 requires a different knowledge and other qualifications than the industry ten years ago. Advanced training measures are therefore of vital importance. Create digital know-how through specific education. On the mySMS group platform for example, hands-on digitization training is offered by University4Industry.

5. Focusing on the customer

The focus should be on totally satisfying customer needs as well as on identifying and solving their problems. Your products and services must generate significant and demonstrable added value for the customer. Talk about precise problems, develop new innovative solutions in close collaboration with your customers and constantly exchange.

6. Collect and use data selectively

Your sensors on machines and systems generate a large amount of data. However, only collecting them does not generate added value. It's just the first step. The next step is about preparing, exchanging and interpreting the data. This step is done in the cloud, which gives you access to all relevant data from anywhere, at any time. On the mySMS platform, for example, you'll find a flexible cloud solution fulfilling these requirements which is called CLOUD SERVICE. That is how you're always up-to-date on the latest technology.

7. Paying attention to high security standards

The security of your generated data is so to say a prerequisite. The loss or misuse of insufficiently secured automation technology can cause you great damage. Set up a comprehensive security strategy at the start of your organization's digital transformation.

8. Using Current IT Technologies & Software

Modern software architectures are the key to modular and flexible systems. In the fourth industrial revolution, software must fulfil high quality standards. It has to be available and intuitive to use – a good usability should be a given. To meet these requirements, you need the right methods and IT experts.

9. Find suitable partners 

It is very likely that you do not have all the necessary staff for a complete digital transformation in your company. However, there are experts in this field who have already developed individual solutions and can assist you in the transformation process. Do not hesitate to enter into cooperation, because you are not the only one to learn something new. Your partners will also gain new insights and suggestions through you. Together you can tackle the challenges of digitization and Industry 4.0.

10. Fail fast, fail cheap

To drive digitization, establishing a new culture of error is of vital importance. Errors should be allowed in order to be able to learn from them and then quickly integrate them into the digitization project. The early testing of new and imperfect digital prototypes plays an important role here. As a result, the risk and the allocation of resources in case of failure can be minimized.