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22. March 2021

8 tips for digital transformation

A model developed by Salzburg Research and FH Salzburg recommends eight measures for companies to successfully implement digital transformation for profit.

We have been familiar with the challenges and opportunities of digitalization long before the Corona crisis. In comparison to the EU, Austrian businesses are in the middle field and therefore have room for improvement in areas such as e-commerce, social media marketing, and the use of digital or smart services. As it turns out, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Austria still have the most deficits in the field of digitalization.

A transformation model developed by the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and Salzburg Research helps companies to reduce uncertainties related to digital information and communication technologies such as cloud computing or the Internet of Things. It provides eight concrete recommendations for action for companies to establish digital processes in their organizations:

1. Innovation processes in companies must run in a structured manner.

A fundamental challenge in developing service innovations is managing innovation processes within a company. This is particularly true for the development of digital services due to new requirements brought about by data-based applications. Therefore, the project partners have developed the common product and process development model TRIZ so that it can be applied to digital process development. In any case, it is recommended to use various process management models (such as the adapted TRIZ model) for the design and evaluation of new digitized services.

2. Establishing a network or smart ecosystem is essential for success.

In many cases, digital service innovations cannot be carried out by a single company, and many service providers are involved. It is therefore important to plan interfaces to common systems and to seek cooperation with other upstream or downstream companies. The consolidation or business relationship of various companies that make the development of such services possible creates new service networks and co-creative services. Therefore, it makes sense for companies to focus on their own strengths and create synergies with other organizations.

3. Trust is created through personal and digital customer contact.

Personal contact with customers is the best way for companies to build trust. However, it is costly, time-consuming, and often logistically difficult. With smart services, companies can address customers individually on a digital level and enable individual offers. However, personal communication will remain important and is often the basis of business relationships. Especially in long-term cooperation, trust and personal contact are important and cannot easily be replaced by digital services.

Despite or precisely because of the digitization of services, customer service becomes even more critical. Customers of digital services demand competent contact persons in case of questions or problems, who take their concerns seriously and solve them quickly and satisfactorily. The core business of good customer service, namely providing satisfactory service, also remains when services are provided digitally.

4. Customers co-create digital offerings

Furthermore, customers should be able to co-create new digital touchpoints. Customer involvement in processes is nothing new. However, where individual care and personal conversation were necessary in the past, digital services now allow for automated feedback from customers.

5. Attractive digital offerings are also rewarded

Companies often have concerns about the high costs associated with investing in digital processes. However, digital services bring cost advantages, such as improved revenue forecasts and more efficient processes, which often lead customers to be willing to pay better for the service itself and enter into long-term service partnerships with the company.

6. Customer benefit as a central design element

A crucial point in implementing digital services is the question of acceptance among customers. If there are concerns, such as data security and protection, companies should solve and communicate them credibly. The benefit must be clearly recognizable and, to some extent, measurable for customers. Digital applications must make sense, save time, be easy, and work reliably. Then they have real benefits.

It is important in this context to know the needs of the company’s customers, for example, through surveys, focus groups, or systematic analysis of touchpoints with the company’s customers.

7. Use of common interfaces

Digital technologies simplify communication between companies and their customers. This increases satisfaction, and customers become more loyal. Companies should take advantage of this benefit. SMEs that do not have the resources to digitize processes continuously can implement them step by step.

8. Acceptance of innovations takes time (diffusion)

With increasing experience and familiarity, customers will increasingly accept digital processes. Companies should therefore involve their customers in the development of such processes to achieve acceptance as quickly as possible. The company can also address new, tech-savvy customer groups in this way.

Your contact for digitization

Nicole Ferber

Nicole Ferber, MSc

(on maternity leave)
Science and Innovation Ecosystem, ICT

+43 5 7599 722 33

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