Only a few words need to be lost about the relevance of digital transformation. That’s how magazines speak of digital Darwinism or “adapt or die”. The digital transformation is in full swing and is changing the German economy. Overall, the digital transformation can be understood in 2 ways (source Petry):

  • Technically this means the preparation of information for storage in a digital technical system.
  • in the Overall context It means the technologicalization of entire industries in a profound sense, so strategy, organization and socioculture are also affected. For a further definition, read the soon as well Article on digital transformation.

On the one hand, these changes are profound and, on the other hand, they have been developing for years. In this sense, many speak of a digital (r) evolution. For this reason, the aim of this article is to examine arguments for the digital revolution as well as for the digital evolution.

Digital revolution

A revolution means a radical change in “one step”. The term revolution is even often associated with armed violence or a brutal coup. Representatives of this thesis include the aforementioned authors on digital Darwinism. “Adapt or die” say the authors in their numerous keynotes and call for radical changes to ensure the survival of companies. Many companies such as Kodak have already felt this revolution. Established manufacturers in the automotive market are also being attacked with Apple and Google. Here, too, there is a “head to head” race to digitize the automobile.

Digital evolution

On the other hand, digitization has been emerging for a long time. Companies such as Apple and Google have been dedicated to the digitization of our society for years and are making progress with it. So isn’t it a direct revolution but simply the “next step” in the evolution of companies? So are companies just slowly transforming into so-called “digital corporations”?

Digital (r) evolution

Regardless of whether it is a digital evolution or a digital revolution, one thing is certain: companies have to act. In his book on Digital Leadership, Petry uses the Chinese proverb: “When the wind of change blows, some build protective walls and others build windmills”. The digital transformation is coming to German companies and is forcing them to digital change. In the course of the research project, the special influence on the structure of companies towards agile and evolutionary companies is examined.

Medium-sized companies in the digital (r) evolution

I think the main themes of digital transformation are like Consulting 4.0 , Work 4.0 and Industry 4.0 are still in the formulation phase. Most of my practice partners are currently in the phase of testing the first digital and agile lighthouse projects or trying out frameworks in individual teams. This is due to the fact that medium-sized companies are slowly noticing that employee turnover is increasing and customers are no longer as easy to win as they used to be.

Corporations in the digital (r) evolution

Can you compare the pressure on medium-sized companies with corporations? Absolutely! The only difference is that companies get more or less time depending on their size. In a small company, missed trends quickly become noticeable and immediately put it on the wrong side, while a large corporation can often generate business successfully for years afterwards. But this also poses a great danger: How can a company, for example, precisely measure fluctuation? There may be a constant number of employees, but we have to ask ourselves: Are they the best people who switch to innovative startups or medium-sized companies because there are better and digital working conditions there? So many large corporations are currently in crisis. A famous example are our banks or, possibly, our major automobile brands soon. Large banks now have problems with the hyped Number26 and Tesla is also attacking our renowned automobile brands from the USA. What was unthinkable in the past is a reality today. Or did you ever think that startups would attack corporations and Apple build cars?

What do you think?

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Thorsten Petry: Digital leadership. Haufe, 2016.

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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