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In my penultimate column, I described how the medium-sized company Pakic is driving its digital transformation. What are the factors that make such a project successful?
Michael Kramer
December 3, 2020
Digital Transformation
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

I borrow Bill Clinton's saying "It's the economy, stupid!", which he used frequently during his 1992 election campaign, and reshape it to "It's the people, stupid!". The most important success factor for successful internal change is motivated employees. This is all the more important in the case of digital transformation because, at the start of the journey, it may not be clear to employees whether their roles will still exist at the end of the project or which tasks they will perform in the future.

Therefore, their motivation should be intrinsic, they should be able to think outside the box and be open to new things. They should also have sufficient knowledge of at least their own business processes, and better still of the overall context. Since this cannot always be assumed, communication skills are very advantageous.

As in any good project team, analytical thinking skills and knowledge of workshop and project work methods also help. Since digital transformation projects also involve changing the way many or all colleagues work, they must have the trust of these colleagues.

At first, this sounds like a lot of characteristics, but the closer the employees of this project team are to these characteristics, the more likely they are to pick up on the right topics, prepare them, implement them, and then also motivate and convince their teams. Employees are therefore sought who, comparable to key users in IT projects, accompany the implementation in their teams as so-called "change agents".

Revolutionary decisions

On the part of management, the corresponding competencies must be conceded. Here, there are a variety of methods such as "swim lanes," i.e., rather soft descriptions that can be handled flexibly and where the specified limits can be exceeded against increasing resistance.

Limits often arise where the existing system architecture is affected, the project scope becomes too large in terms of budget and risk, and/or revolutionary decisions are to be made for the company. Whereby the term "revolutionary" refers to the respective company, since both the employees and all other stakeholders should accept and live the result. Agile companies have advantages over companies that rarely change with little changing business model and additionally hierarchical organization.

Other players are management consultancies that bring in knowledge that a company either does not have or cannot provide for capacity reasons. This starts with strategy consulting, which is generally used before digital transformation projects are decided. Here, it is the task of the company management, via the management, to determine and make available the knowledge of the teams that are necessary for the digital transformation. The selection of tools - if new solutions are to be introduced - can take place in the strategic phase, but better in the teams or at least with the help of the teams that will later work with them.

The most time and the highest costs are incurred in the implementation of the project together with a system house that not only masters the introduction, but also knows the workflows typical of the industry and is thus additionally a coach and provider of ideas for the project team.

A modern corporate culture is needed to drive forward the multi-layered projects of digital transformation. The "old" cultural palaces as we knew them have been repurposed or demolished. Bring and maintain the new culture in your company ("palace").

Michael Kramer

Michael Kramer, Digital Transformation Enthusiast and Member of the Supervisory Board of E-3 Verlag AG

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For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
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Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

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Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
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28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
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The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.