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Digitization opens vast opportunities for agile businesses, but most are rigged for stability and control



Business is becoming digitised at record speed, but many companies are falling by the wayside. “Far too many businesses continue to work in the same old way, even with new technology,” says Vegard Kolbjørnsrud, Senior Research Fellow in Accenture and Assistant Professor at BI Norwegian Business School.

COMPANIES ARE TOO RIGID: “The question is whether you manage the business to make the most of new technology. Digitisation creates a sea of possibilities, but most businesses only rig themselves for stability and control,” says Vegard Kolbjørnsrud, Senior Research Fellow in Accenture and Assistant Professor at BI Norwegian Business School

“Most companies believe that a digital strategy is about moving from A to Z. That’s misjudged,” says Kolbjørnsrud.

He believes that far too many Norwegian businesses are too rigid to make use of the possibilities that digitisation brings with it.

“You’re moving into terrain where the outcome and knowledge of what’s going to work best in the future are unknown, so you need to have an experimental approach.”

He believes the cause to be the fast pace of development in new digital technology.

“There’s no point in making a five-year digital communication plan. A business needs to innovate on the go.”

“Too hung up on stability and control”

Digitisation opens the doors to the automation of a number of tasks that, up to now, humans have been responsible for carrying out. But digitisation also paves the way for new business models.

“Uber, Airbnb and Netflix are perhaps the best known examples. The businesses they are outcompeting are also pushing for digitisation, but not in the same way.”

“With new technology you’re not tied to old working methods you could and should have completely new ideas about organisation and business models. Not many businesses manage to do that.

“The question is whether you manage the business to make the most of new technology. Digitisation creates a sea of possibilities,” Kolbjørnsrud elaborates, “but most businesses only rig themselves for stability and control.”

TIPS: Being flexible is, according to Accenture, one of the keys to a company’s successful digitisation. “Run several small-scale projects and reasonable experiments,” says Vegard Kolbjørnsrud.

How do you succeed?

Being flexible is, according to Accenture, one of the keys to a company’s successful digitisation.

“Run several small-scale projects and reasonable experiments. See what works for you, your partners and customers. If it doesn’t work out, stop or turn around and try again,” says Kolbjørnsrud.

According to Accenture, there are relatively few businesses that have an overall digitisation strategy, although many have digital initiatives for specific areas.

“Those working in the area of customer services like to think about digitising their function on a daily basis. The same applies for those working in marketing departments and others responsible for collecting customer data. The first step is to get them talking to each other and to the rest of the business.”

Digitization opens vast opportunities for agile businesses, but most are rigged for stability and control

EVERYONE WILL BE AFFECTED: “Every single aspect of Norwegian business will be exposed to new digital technology in the years to come,” believes our Accenture expert.

According to a survey carried out by Accenture in 2015, 75 percent of employees in Norwegian companies believe that digitisation will change the way they work within three years.

“Every single aspect of Norwegian business will be exposed to new digital technology in the years to come. In order to succeed, the necessary expertise and drive need to be present in all parts of the organisation and not just isolated to a single role,” explains Kolbjørnsrud.


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