The 7 steps to digitalization (incl. checklist)

arrow-right All posts Published on 16.07.2020

The Corona crisis has put “digitalization” at the top of the agenda and made it one of the most popular buzzwords of recent months. From small businesses to large corporations – digital change forces companies to rethink and requires new processes, structures, and rules. From Internal Communications to HR to the CEO – every decision-maker is currently concerned with how complex, cost-intensive, and above all promising a project like this is. Just to be clear: YES, digitalization is costly – but YES, this effort is worth it. Ready to dive in? Perfect, then here are the 7 steps you should follow if you want to start digitalizing your company.

1. Strength lies in peace

The time for company digitalization is now, because it has never been more important to ask the question:

💡 Can a digital solution improve processes in my company?


Did you answer yes to that question? Then there’s a lot to do. Nevertheless, you should not (despite anticipation and mobilizing your creative energy) rashly and thoughtlessly introduce new tools and processes. In a project such as this, it is important to carry out thorough preparation and define a strategy. This type of transformation only works if you know exactly what potential results from digitalization and in which direction the whole project should go. Tip: In addition to involving management personnel, select individual employees from various departments to support the project with innovative thinking.

2. Optimize processes! 🙌🏻

If you can optimize your processes, there are many different options for how to proceed. The two most important questions you should ask yourself when optimizing your process are:

1. What added value does Option XYZ offer the company/employees/customers?

2. Where are your pain points?

Process optimization involves, for example, forms that can be filled out on the computer, digital accounting, and cross-location project work by different departments on a universal document. Sound good? It is – many processes can be optimized via a digital structural change. However, one thing is particularly important and should not be neglected: Sustainable thinking. It is, therefore, important to focus on the company’s needs, and only then to introduce a suitable tool. One promising approach is the implementation of an optimization concept in which problems are identified and processes are defined. This makes it easy to see which tools can help the company and its employees.


3. The digitalization strategy

You know what you want, you know your goals and visions, you have formulated a strategy, you have allocated resources sensibly, and now you have to decide on your approach: Offensive vs. Defensive.


Those who approach digitalization in this way want to ensure the strength of the company or market leadership. Here, it is only a matter of making selective improvements to the company, which works well in the short term, but is not enough in the long term to remain competitive.


Companies that take an active approach are in a better situation overall, because they constantly question themselves. From digital shift schedules to employee apps – anyone looking for added value for their employees and customers and those who analyze and adapt processes will benefit enormously.


4. Get all employees on board! ⛵️

Digitalization brings with it great changes and will not trigger cheers of joy from every employee. Some will be afraid for their own job or will fear using the new technology. The guiding principle is, therefore:

👉🏻The digitalization of a company always starts with the employees.

For the upcoming project, it is extremely important to convince employees to participate. When replacing outdated routines, the workforce needs to be informed not only about the new approach, but also about the objective evidence of increased productivity and efficiency. (This project will require training and workshops, depending on the internal age structure.)

For example: sending internal documents digitally. Instead of laboriously moving the file from computer to computer on the network (and being exposed to the risk of duplication), there are much easier and faster ways – such as uploading it to the Cloud or a collaboration tool. There, employees can even work on a document simultaneously, always have access to the latest version, and always have the answer to the question “Where is document XYZ?” Therefore, transparent communication should be used right from the start in order to sensitize and inspire employees with the new project.


5. Corporate culture & collaboration tools

The fact is: Process optimization begins with corporate culture – and the fact that this is becoming increasingly important is proven by the figures of a survey conducted by Glassdoor (2019). 77% of respondents consider the corporate culture before applying to a company and 56% consider the corporate culture more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. (Not surprisingly, these statements apply especially to millennials and other generations under 45.)

This trend will continue to grow through the generations to come, and it is important to assert yourself against the competition and to make young, talented applicants curious – and then be able to retain them. An important part of digitalization in terms of corporate culture are collaboration tools. Today, collaboration is more important than ever and has been proven to shape the perception of the company, as well as the connection between employees and management. Collaboration tools facilitate collaboration, connect locations, encourage innovative thinking, and significantly improve Internal Communications.


6. Stocktaking, please! 👨🏼‍💻

To tackle the new project, a comprehensive stocktaking of all digital tools including shadow IT is required. It’s not easy, but to find solutions and tools for the conversion of an entire company, the IT department needs to know what’s already there – and what’s obsolete. Since every company is set up very differently, it helps to be guided by the following questions:

1. How many employees use computers, smartphones, and/or tablets?
2. Which work programs are available to the staff?
3. What tools do the colleagues use for communication?
4. Which interfaces can improve the collaboration of people and tools?
5. What is the status of the identified tools in terms of data security and GDPR compliance?


7. Consistency – don’t let up!

Digitalizing a company does not happen overnight. Instead, change is a process that gradually brings more and more improvements. And this change is never completely finished, but always remains part of a constant quest for improvement. It is therefore important to remain active, plan for the long term, and keep a close eye on technical developments. 


Download the checklist

To help you with digitalization, we have compiled a checklist with the most important steps. Simply enter your e-mail address, download the list – and get started with digitalization.


• Melanie Mader •

Our online editor Melanie writes about everything that matters in the COYO blog. Thematically flexible, she tells you about the latest developments and always reveals useful tips and tricks.

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