Dos and don’ts from the digitization expert

What small companies should and shouldn’t do.

Thomas Bergmann is a highly experienced digitization expert and continually has many positive experiences, but also a few negative ones, with digital transformation projects. Here he has compiled a list of the key dos and don’ts for small businesses.

  • Make your digital transformation a management issue and set an example by using digital channels and tools yourself. Generate enthusiasm for digital transformation amongst your staff and introduce a change of culture. Digitization has an impact on processes and on how people cooperate and think in the company. The more enthusiastic employees are about the digital transformation, the more successful it will be.

  • Don’t follow every trend or adopt every new technology and only implement digitization projects that produce benefits for your customers, employees or business partners. This might mean, for example, an easier ordering process in the online shop for customers, an improved flow of information via a community tool for employees, or better logistics thanks to an automated process for business partners. Find out what the relevant target groups really need and what they really don’t need. Also establish how satisfied they are with digitization projects that have already been implemented.

  • Reflect carefully on which products you wish to sell online and which you do not. The rule is straightforward: you can sell simple, easy-to-understand and less expensive products online, whereas complex, more expensive ones which require explanation should be sold face to face.

  • Use the knowledge of your own staff in your digital projects. Does a warehouse employee write a travel blog in their spare time? Then why not ask for their input for your website? Their expertise may be more valuable than that of an external consultant who is not familiar with the sector.

  • As your customers can now compare products and prices independently online, they are often better informed than sales staff or product managers. This means you have to ensure your employees see themselves less as good salespeople and more as good advisors. No tool can replace sound advice. A good advisor knows how to determine the customer’s requirements and then to offer them the product they need and not the one the salesperson wants to sell to them. This is how the company establishes trust.

  • Simply try things out by running a pilot project. Only work with partners who are willing to get to know your company and make certain preliminary investments. Also use free tools which are now available on the market. Digitization does not have to be expensive. Trying things out helps you to avoid investing heavily in the wrong project.

About our expert

Thomas Bergmann is the founder and owner of the consultancy firm “Digiratis ­– Swiss Network of Digital Elite”. He has over 25 years of expertise in digital business as a management consultant, providing advice on how to build up online companies and on the operational management of digital business units in various sectors. As well as working as a digital consultant for small, medium-sized and large companies, he is also Digital Head and project manager of the “Digital Summit für KMU” (digital summit for SMEs).

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