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Digital Strategy or Software, Chicken or Egg?

How should we tackle digitalization? Should we first solve problems and then think about the connections? Or should we think about the Big Picture first and then start the journey?

I see a lot of Software offers right now on my LinkedIn Feed and every single one tackles another problem. Every single one claims to solve that problem for me. And surely every single one is completely detached from the other. What they all have in common though is that every single solution target one single issue only, of my business or my private life. Now, as that is quite familiar from my Smartphone usage, I could argue that this strategy is a great thing. Whenever I have a problem or a question or a service that I need, I browse the App Store and sure thing I will find someone who has programmed a solution for that. Either expensive or free, close or relative to the issue, I’ll find something for my topic.

Now, with that in mind it is not a surprise that nowadays we have Videoconferences on Zoom, MS Teams, Sametime, WhatsApp, aso. In one way we have all accepted that, because everyone of us had a different take-off base when Covid-19 or let’s say “Digitizing the world by force” has started in the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, there will be a time when things get normal again - new normal. And latest then we will need a digital Strategy or better a digital Culture in our teams and companies. As Peter Drucker famously said: “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast”, I guess that we have to establish a Digital Culture in our professional lives and surroundings. We will need a Culture that combines analogue and digital areas, the well-know Digital Twin story, and will need to make sure that all connect to each other. I am not talking about one software provider here; I am talking about the mindset that connects all these functions and people together.

Is that an IT thing again? No – it is an HR and Executive thing, they will have to stand in the front line and explain why and how the world is as it is or better will be, predicted as best as we can. I talk to a lot of different people (digitally mainly) and I learn more and more that a lot of managers and executives are hesitant with defining and telling that story. It feels uncommon, has very little to do with immediate ROIs, for example Big Data mining makes it not easy to predict the desired outcome. Digitalization might turn into an organizational avalanche once installed and talking about the mindset is in general a rather “fluffy” topic.

It’s an important one though, based on my learnings form the five years I have been MD in a factory with around 4000 people - transforming it into a Smart Factory. Most people summarize it under Industry 4.0 and move it again into the tech area, but it is so much more. The more I look back, the more I see the different dots popping up that were needed to connect, to make it a success story. And, truth been told, not every project turned into a success of course, be it financially or organizationally. And also, truth been told – as the responsible Manager for the business, Books about “Fail fast and fail often” don’t help much when you report numbers to the CFO. It needs more than that to succeed. And you can succeed a lot - Industry 4.0 is not just “talk of the town”, it can become a boost for your business.

In the last months I have started my own firm and every day I learn a lot of new things. Also, every day I learn that organizations can benefit from my experience of the last 37 years, some with regards to production itself, some with regards to setting up lean development structures or lean organizations and some are making their first steps into Industry 4.0 which is just great. Therefore, this time, I would like to introduce my Homepage to you and if you are interested in some advices, counselling, transitioning aso. feel free to connect. I will listen to your particular status quo and we’ll see if I might be of help – for you, your team or your organization. With that being said – be bold and never stop daring – and – enjoy the week…

The story of a Smart Factory Transition:


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