Digital Transformation: supporting structures and systems

Digital Transformation- supporting structures and systems

In less than four seconds one can bring order to chaos. When speaking of «chaos», we think of the state you can see on the left side in our photo. And when speaking of «order», the one on the right. In this short amount of time it is possible to get the colourful little cubes in orderly paths of the same colours. We admit: It is not us who set this record to solve the famous «Rubik’s Cube», but Yusheng Du, the current record holder in speedcubing. (Guinness World Records, Fastest time to solve a Rubik’s Cube, 2018).

But where does this famous cube come from? The inventor of the «Rubik’s Cube» is Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect and designer. Between 1971 and 1979 he was a professor for architecture at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. Rubik invented the «magic cube» – as he called it in the beginning – to show his students on a three-dimensional object how individual parts move and relate to each other in the three dimensional room. The magic cube seemed to find approval amongst his students, and Rubik soon saw a further potential economic value of this simple yet intellectually demanding puzzle. Still unsure about the possible success of his cube as a puzzle on the market Rubik said: «The market is two-sided. Partly they are keen for something new, and they are afraid about new.» (Business Insider, How the Rubik’s Cube became one of the bestselling toys in history, 2018). But Rubik’s doubts turned out to be unfounded, as his cube has been sold over 450 million times up until today. And, as mentioned at the beginning, a whole world of competition has risen around this magic little cube.

These world records in speedcubing are fascinating for sure; but they are not what we want to emphasize here. We use the cube – just like at the beginning of the «Rubik’s Cube» – as an instrument to graphically illustrate thoughts . Imagine your company to be in the state of «chaos» (or simply, in its initial position) on the left side of our photo: You have ‹fields› of offers – products, services – which should be brought to your clients in the most efficient ‹paths› as possible; or, in other words: they should be brought to a direct line with your clients. As is well known, many paths lead to Rome, and everybody is not able to do this in under four seconds. But rest assured, you absolutely don’t have to with your company. Your goal is to bring your offer to a direct line with your clients, reliably and efficiently. And this, in fact, with your specific initial position in mind. For that – just as with the magic cube – you actually have to set something in motion.

Everyone is currently talking about the «digital transformation». Its goal is to make companies faster, better and more efficient. But just as often as the term is used there seems to be some kind of uncertainty about it. Uncertainty about how such a digital transformation should look like, or about how much should be transformed or changed. It is often assumed that the whole process of a company should be turned inside out. But that is wrong in most cases, as the Harvard Business Review states. (Harvard Business Review, Don’t Put a Digital Expert in Charge of Your Digital Transformation, 2019). Just because a lot of things may be created more digitally doesn’t mean your entire previous business model no longer makes sense. Your offer probably stays the same for the most part. But you have to ask: How do you get your offer to your client as needs-based and targeted as possible? And are there digital aids to make your work easier?

There also were attempts to solve the «Rubik’s Cube» with computer-operated systems. Researchers of University of California Irvine (UCI) wrote a self-learning algorithm that solves the magic cube in about a second. But let’s bring back our analogy of the magic cube to your company: You do not have to turn your processes inside out – and for example switch to complex computerized algorithms or completely digital solutions –, but you can achieve great results and changes with a few simple handles and systematics. Believe us, we have tried it. At first sight of the Rubik’s Cube we almost broke out in a sweat of fear. But with only a few easy algorithms and handles we were able to bring order to chaos. That happened in nowhere near four seconds, but in a few minutes anyway. And what’s working with the Rubik’s Cube is also true for your company: You have to apply those changes and systematics that work for you and your business model. They absolutely should not change your process entirely but be fitted in it. By sheer force you can neither solve the Rubik’s Cube nor change your company into a digital giant. The digital transformation will not change your whole business. It rather helps to implement digital means and solutions where they make sense and where they make procedures easier for you and your clients.

As a manager you also have to think about hiring the personalities who understand the fundamental processes of your kind of business. They will then implement digital means where they are of help. Digital solutions should not be the starting point of your thoughts about digital transformation, your future business model is. This is why successful «transformation drivers» are often those people that know, understand, and improve their business profoundly. As a consequence, it is often not the digital «gurus», as the Harvard Business Review calls them, that drive the transformation. Are you as well still looking for the people who successfully solve your entrepreneurial «magic cube»? Who steer and guide your offer to the right path? We will support you! And in four seconds you can manage this for sure: pick up your phone and call us!


A De Bord International’ blog post



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