Digital transformation is not all about technology!

What are the skills required to successfully lead the digital transformation of a company? To find out the answers, the students of the MSc Business Administration program at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts have interviewed educational experts who train business people in the field of technology-driven transformation management. Dr. Michael von Kutzschenbach, senior researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Information Systems of the School of Business FHNW, was interviewed by the students. The summary following highlights the key messages.

What is digital transformation? What are the required skills?

When talking about digital transformation, the latest technological advancements are mostly named first. But according to Michael’s conviction it “is not only about technology”. Simply replacing the old technology with the new one while continuing with the business activities as before, is not the idea of digital transformation. Digital transformation goes far beyond technology. “For me, digital transformation enables you to change the way you do business. You may even alter your relationships — by acquiring new partners and different competitors, which results in new business models.” However, in order to recognize the core of digital transformation, a shift of mindset is necessary. “And this is what we try to teach people.”

How to shift the mindset?

Joining up with different people working in a different environment certainly enables a shift of mindset. A seminar, which brings together different people and addresses real-life challenges from different perspectives, is definitively a suitable form to empower the out-of-box thinking. “The innovative heads are often the lonely cowboys,” Michael says, “in the setting of the seminar they can easily find like-minded people.” Moreover, the deep discussion of real organization cases and the exchange of experience by applying iThink (a tool for identifying interdependencies between the processes and the problems) allow the gaining of knowledge of what works and what does not work in a certain situation, thus broadening one’s horizon.

An expanded mind is of particular importance for leading the digital transformation successfully, because digital, technology-driven transformation not only represents a challenge with enormous potential for organizational growth and development, but also presents leaders with significant organizational risks. To implement and realize the benefits of digital transformation, leaders must comprehend the intended consequences of technology and, perhaps most importantly, identify the potential unintended consequences of the organizational transformation.

About Dr. Michael von Kutzschenbach

-®Margrit_Mueller-Kutzschenbach-0727-swDr. Michael von Kutzschenbach is a lecturer and senior researcher at the Institute for Information Systems at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). His passion and mission is to support business leaders in transforming their businesses in an environment of disruptive change and increasing complexity. His seminar Managing Digital Transformation will take place from February 25 – 27, 2016 at the FHNW in Basel.
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