Digitization in SMEs: Handbook for Family Businesses {Review}

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When it comes to digitization and digital transformation, we often think of the large corporations that are strongly represented in the media in terms of digitization. But what does it look like in the middle class and especially in family businesses? A new book will help.

By the way: You can find many more hand-picked reading recommendations in our section Editorial book tips.

Here writes for you:


Stephan Lamprecht Stephan Lamprecht

Stephan Lamprecht is a journalist and editor at Management-Journal.de


Digitization in the family business

Unfortunately, medium-sized companies and even family businesses are too often left behind when it comes to digital transformation. And they are the ones who bring innovation to the front often enough.

This is exactly why this book is so important: The authors Arnold Weissman and Stephan Wegerer describe the fundamental challenge of their work directly in the foreword. Because whoever comes across a title with the words “Digital Change” while browsing through the bookstore or in the virtual display of the online shop may wonder whether another book on this topic is now necessary.

The most important developments of the past years

The reader is at ease here: “Another book” on the subject is actually not the title from Campus Verlag. All readers who have already dealt with digitization, transformation or disruptive business models can skip the first chapter.

For there, the most important developments of recent years are briefly described, in order to underline the necessity of action, especially for the middle class.

Kodak, Quelle, Neckermann and Co - forgotten sleepyheads

The not only insiders known examples of the victims of digitization are used. Companies and brands of world renown, who just have not adjusted in time for the change.

However, it would be fair to argue that even at this time Microsoft underestimated the importance of the Internet. Something Bill Gates likes to admit.

Understand drivers of change

In the second chapter, the authors present the most important foundations and drivers for digitization. The uninitiated reader finds there a nice and succinct summary of the current tendencies.

Noteworthy are these introductory words, not least because of many examples from the (recent) past that tell of missed opportunities.

Digitization affects customers, business models and people

Who knows today that the MP3 format, which made digitization of the music industry possible, is actually a German invention. With the other Company and foreign vendors turned the big wheel and got rich?

The digital transformation affects the relationship between business and customers. And that not only applies to the B2C section, but also to B2B. Especially the classical trade feels the changes. Because the customer of today naturally uses his smartphone for shopping.

Challenge Customer Journey

He is well informed and would like to have goods that appeal to him at the same time at home. The so-called Customer Journey is becoming more diverse and significantly more complex. The individualization of supply and the growing dominance of marketplaces are just two more important aspects of change.

Today, start-ups are developing business models around the world that have disruptive potential and can threaten traditional companies. But how does a company find its digital business model?

Brainstorming is necessary

In practice, it is not possible to stop the business temporarily, to gather for an intensive brainstorming and to reopen the company with a completely new approach. Such questions are dealt with in a separate chapter, as is the case throughout the book.

After that, the authors turn to two aspects that are often neglected in the literature on digital transformation.

Understand efficiency and processes

On the one hand, it is about efficiency and processes: networking of systems, of companies among each other, the quality of the data and information used. Without operational excellence, digitization can not be managed.

But that also applies to the people, the employees of an organization. The chapter on this topic can best be described with the end of Silodenkens.

Conclusion: Comprehensive instructive presentation with impulses for daily action

It is in the nature of things that there cannot be simple step-by-step instructions for digital change. Here the subtitle "The manual" is a little misleading.

The successful book offers its readers, especially from the middle class, a comprehensive and instructive presentation of the transformation processes. And with that also a series of impulses for the daily acting.

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  1. Franka

    Digitizing processes is not easy, but digitization does not have to happen in all parts of the organization at the same time. For example, you can start with the HR processes and simplify many processes by using the Human Capital Management Platform (see https://www.hrlab.de/de/). Then you can start digitizing other processes. Depending on the size of the company, digitization takes on different complexity. But even if it takes a lot of energy and time in the beginning, the conversion for the companies is definitely worthwhile.

    • Simone Janson

      Thanks for the tip.

  2. Karl

    Digitalization in the middle class is urgently in need!

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