Opinion: Many Companies Digitise Nonsense
Most companies lack the basics, structure and logic in their approach, says IT expert Oliver Meinecke.
The basis of every digitization project is data. However, in most companies, data is a disaster. The first step is to clean up the mess. Reducing unnecessary data is the start of the process. The remaining data must then be prepared both semantically and syntactically and brought into a valid system. Since many companies have collected data garbage for decades, this will be a major challenge. This must be faced. Without usable data, no sensible digital processes.
Outdated, unnecessary or ineffective processes.
There is also a need to catch up in terms of reduction and order in the company’s internal processes. Many processes are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective. They are mapped in ones and zeros and transferred to the new digital world. But it makes no sense to digitize unnecessary and ultimately counterproductive processes. Here, too, the first step is to tidy up and optimize. If you don’t check, optimize, reduce and make your processes more effective, you shouldn’t even start with digitization. First, the processes have to be right and well thought out. Only then does it make sense to map them digitally.
A business analysis is also needed. Products and services that will soon have exceeded their life cycle no longer necessarily need a digital update. Without prior downsizing in everything, without clarity about what will survive the next few years and what has any future at all, any digitization strategy is bound to fail. Digitization is complex and costs money. That’s why it only makes sense to digitize those processes and services that are also profitable in the long term and bring about a comprehensible improvement. What doesn’t perform must be eliminated and doesn’t need to be digitized. Things don’t get better just because they go digital. What is no good must be disposed of, before, not during, a digitization process.
Not every trend makes sense, certainly not for everyone.
The belief in the cloud is also a danger. Many think that if they deposit data and processes in the cloud, security increases and responsibility can be relinquished. But this is often not true. The cloud also harbors dangers that should not be underestimated. Data and system autonomy must be sought in order to better control processes individually. Handing over data and technical processes is always a risk. Every digitization strategy must be accompanied by a resilience and risk analysis. There are many processes that do not belong in the cloud and should not be handled by providers. False promises are often believed, leading to opportunities being overestimated to the maximum and calculated beautifully, while risks are underestimated and minimized.
I recommend reflecting, reducing and optimizing before digitizing. “Shit in, shit out” is a well-known phrase from project management. This is all the more true when it comes to technological upheaval, as is currently the case in almost all companies. Only those who clean up analog can also become digitally successful. Anything else only burns money and other valuable resources. What is needed is an awareness of meaningful digitization. What it doesn’t need is naivety and enthusiasm for everything that sounds nice but hasn’t yet shown any success in practice.
is an IT project manager and expert on all aspects of digitization, IT intelligence, IT relevance, IT efficiency, IT infrastructure optimization and home office.