Digitalization in Business: 6 steps to success

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Digitization is a process of change that affects the whole Company concerns. Although management is managed by the management, IT, employees and human resources must also be involved. These steps must be taken concretely in the company so that the digital transformation succeeds.

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Marco De Micheli photo-500x500-pixelMarco De Micheli is Publishing Director of the PRAXIUM Fachverlag in Zurich and book author specialized in Human Resource Management.


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1. Executives with a key role in digitization

The management is responsible for strategy and goals, advocacy for relevance and the necessary resources. In all areas affected by digitization, executives often have the primary responsibility for implementation and day-to-day business, especially for the acceptance and commitment of their employees.

Executives are supported in bigger ones Company with ambitious digitization projects involving the entire company from a potential Chief Digital Officer. Depending on this, the IT and experts (groups) also assume certain responsibilities in technical matters and implementations.

2. IT and Chief Digital Officer brings the change to technology

Given the size of the company and the scale of its activities, it is also possible to designate a Chief Digital Officer who will advance, organize, implement and coordinate the digital transformation strategy. This should be equipped with extensive competences, tasks and responsibilities and should always be at senior management level.

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In addition to technological know-how and a holistic understanding of business, he must above all be a good change manager. A good CDO, however, always has to be a good change manager with strong social skills. In smaller companies, however, the role of a CDO can also be assumed by the managing director or IT manager.

3. Employees are also responsible for digital transformation

Employees also ultimately assume responsibility, namely to shape the opportunities and challenges of digitization with a positive and constructive mindset. The responsibility for digitization can not be attached to a person.

Also, the tendency of executives, unfortunately many in many places, to simply rout them to IT or experts, is not effective. This signals to employees that digitization is a rather annoying matter and does not matter.

4. The HR has to empower employees for the digital transformation

HR has a particularly important role and responsibility in supporting leaders and advising GL on, for example, training employees, integrating digitization into leadership development, securing and organizing communications, and motivating employees to be more positive.

The responsibility of HR is a one-stop solution, essentially empowering executives and employees for the digital transformation and actively shaping it at all levels.

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5. Human resources with a dual role in the digital transformation

In doing so, HR has the difficult task of advancing digitization on the one hand in instruments and processes such as recruiting on the one hand, and on the other hand in supporting and accompanying executives and employees in the digital change process.

The fact that we ourselves are affected by digitization is a great advantage for the development of competences from our own and current practice and the opportunity to benefit from our own experiences and pass them on.

6. The corporate culture is crucial

The corporate culture is of central importance here: it is either a brake pad that can hardly be overcome or accelerates the digital transformation with the innovative spirit anchored in the corporate culture.

Agile, open, employee-oriented, learning-friendly and communication-active corporate cultures bring with them particularly good conditions for successful digitization. That's why it's crucial to make everyone aware and aware that ultimately, everyone's responsible for a successful outcome.

Conclusion: Here is still a concrete answer

So who takes responsibility in the change process? To answer this question conclusively and concretely:

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In many cases, the transfer of overall responsibility to a Chief Digital Officer at senior management level with the broadest possible competences, with well-defined managerial responsibilities in their digitization-related areas and equally well-defined HR responsibility for HR design and support, is likely to be a good path.

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