Are we digitalized or not?

In our own organization, MDC, I have for the past years had the impression that we did quite well when it came to becoming digitalized. All our systems are cloud-based, we use systems that configure themselves to suit our work processes, we talk a lot about digitalization, we play with digital toys and also focus on the digitalization of our industry and society in our work.

A few days ago, I was channeled into to taking a quick online assessment provided by a Danish consultancy company. The test should help you evaluate your organizations level of digitalization. Before entering the test site, a reference case for the company caught my attention and convinced me to watch one of their customer profile videos. The video depicted a major Danish infrastructure company (operating two very large bridges), and something struck me. The CEO explained that their company was not a “concrete” company anymore, but a “data” company. How could this be? This didn’t really make much sense to me. I started sweating and seriously started doubting my own view on and knowledge about digitalization.

Well, I completed the assessment and as you might have guessed I was in for a surprise. We jumped right in on the lower end still missing a lot in order to become a digital mature organization.

So where did we actually miss the target? To answer this, first, let’s get our grasps around the term digitalization and a digital business. One webpage suggests: “Digitalization: is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” So pretty basic, right? Use digital technologies to change the way you operate and create new value and business.

Getting back to our result, we apparently missed out in a lot of spots. Did we have the strategy in place - well not really, it was just something we did. Were the organization ready, competencies in place? Hmm – we all know how to use basic IT, unlock our iPhones and do stuff in excel – but really digital evangelists? Not really. Moving on, how are our offerings towards our customers? Well, we do use various web forms and are used to working on different platforms – but actively using data to understand our customers (members) and tailor solutions and experiences to them? Let’s just say, we have some way to go. In terms of automating our operation and processes, I must admit that we – to some extent – have the systems at hand – but wholeheartedly using the potential of automation? No, I’m, sorry to report. I did, however, gain a little confidence when it came to our infrastructure; in this respect, we are ready as we use big scalable cloud solutions independent of local holdups and cumbersome legacy systems. Finally: a notch in our belt. The last two areas focused on innovation and building a digital ecosystem, well yes, with our maturity in the lower bracket we still have some way to go.

I have shared this personal wake-up call with you, because it reminded me that a digital journey is so much more than tech, data and systems. It’s about vision, strategy, competencies and customer focus. Review and automate processes making sure you have the basic infrastructure on the technical side but also the culture to ensure digital is the way we run our business.

So next step for us is to compare this to our vision and strategy to find out where we want to go and why – and how it can help you as our members – customers.

In the end, I never bought the CEO’s explanation, that they should “just” be a data company. But I acknowledge that there is more to digitalization than what just meets the eye. MDC will never be a “data” company; we are a people and network business where digitalizing our operation will help our members build stronger networks.