Business & New Ways of Thinking

"Millions of people do not yet realise or know what the future holds for them. Politics alone will not manage to take them into the age of Digitization" - Chancellor Merkel at Cebit, Europe's Business Festival for Innovation and Digitization held each year in Hanover, Germany; Source: n-tv

Many parts of the population in Germany, like other European countries, seem to be somewhat unsettled by the rapidly advancing digital transformation happening. Of course it is also quite natural to resist the unfamiliar, and keep to old ways, but usually not so progressive.

Company owners, management, traditional organisations, and official supervisory boards seem to be afraid of change, of the unknown, and of new paths that require such digitization.

Indeed, many are stuck to old ways of thinking, whilst sticking to a hierarchical and inflexible management structure. Indeed, outdated and complex working systems do not so easily embrace, or rather have the capacity to meet the necessary requirements of a fast-paced and dynamic changing world. In fact they hinder it. This then limits their development, and from a business/organisational perspective, constrains growth, innovation and ultimately long term success.

In a time of speedy technological advancements, era of information revolution, and endless data, no doubt we need fluid connectivity and networking with others, together with solid communication streams. We also need to be open to and more easily adopt new ideas and creativity.

Another obstacle is when companies have internal conflicts between departments where staff are not encouraged or even allowed to get involved in other areas outside their line of work/specialistion. Author Christoph Keese summarises it nicely in his book Silicon Germany:

Specialisation: We think in specialist areas and avoid risks - Industry cannot function without special knowledge. The deeper the knowledge, the more successful the products. For digitization, however, specialization is a danger because it isolates. Horizontal networks cannot be created.

Specialisations are of course needed and a good thing, but you never know, some people might be able to contribute in different ways and create added value. It also helps keep morale high and people interested.

Language is another barrier worth highlighting here, where traditional-thinking companies neglect and as such are likely to miss major opportunities. This is quite relevant for website technology, especially in relation to web/online content and organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Understandably, the English language takes second place in Germany and throughout continental Europe. And sure, allow that to continue. However, all too often many companies/organisations that aspire to grow and target regional or international markets do not even have any English content on their website. Thus, if the content is not there, then the website has almost no chance of appearing in Google search results when a user searches in English for the product or service.

Certainly this means all English-speaking markets, including the US, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore to name a few, and of course India, Pakistan and South Africa, all massively emerging markets. But also generally many other markets that are likely to use English as their international business language and when conducting a search on Google, or of course places where there is a large expat community. This includes countries such as China and the wider region of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and even all EU-European countries, especially the Nordics and ex-British colonies/commonwealth nations.

Despite perhaps having superior products/services, as they were, as well as better processes and efficiencies in some areas, lack of digital knowhow can be, and is, a major drawback for the wider economy. If businesses and organisation in Germany, as well as in other European markets, don’t catch on and adopt such thinking of digitization, content and SEO, then they will surely be left behind.

Hence the government’s louder voice and support of Digitization and online technologies, and push to better inform companies and organisations to jump on the bandwagon and re-invent, or rather re-invigorate the existing strong industries here.

digitization  is the use of online and digital technologies to change a business model and its operations in order to provide new dynamic revenue and value-producing opportunities. It is the process of moving, at least in part, to a more digital business.

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