At a time when people were torn between the material and the ideal world, alchemists were searching for the means of the means, the philosopher’s stone. It should draw the ignoble by transmutation out of base metals and diseased creatures and thus pave the way for gold or the eternal life. However, even under torture, the alchemists did not manage to produce real gold. Nevertheless, many are still looking for a way to turn the world for the better. Currently they speak of the digital.
Like the Philosopher’s Stone, hopes are raised among today’s decision makers, hopes which, above all, offer special benefits for today’s alchemists. Despite this, the digital transformation means dramatic changes in the flow before anything else.
- Delays affect stronger than before
Those who couldn’t get a hold on unpunctuality will have additional difficulties with the digital transformation. Processes that take too long, piles of orders that are growing steadily, and delivery dates that are not fulfilled result now faster in problems. As long as parts of the process take place outside of computers, different processing speeds, unnecessary additional activities and extensive reworking burden a reliable flow – even with a high degree of digitization. In the future, the participants expect results that are almost immediately available.
- Error sources create more serious consequences
Today’s complexity offers a variety of error sources that are difficult to trace back to the root cause. If a delivery does not reach its destination because the address is incorrect or if the wrong articles are delivered, the customer gets frustrated. First of all because the order does not arrive on time and secondly, above all, he feels badly served – of course because of missing personal appreciation. Digitization offers an improvement by automating simple routines. However, this requires that you know your processes. The launch of IT systems always had been difficult. With digitization, clear processes become even faster and more important and thus the implementation becomes more difficult.
- Shortcomings harm more intense
Particularly unpleasant are the little quirks that interfere with the process, such as a less intuitive user interface, products and services which have small defects, and an uncomfortable way to fix deficiencies. Bad response times of the website, excessive entry validation or unclear contact persons spoil the customer for further businesses. Digitization will increase the share of IT in the value creation and accelerate everything. If you do solve these flaws, the customer is gone – forever.
- Foresight does not work anymore
The good news is that in the future potential customers can be found everywhere – globally. All are just one click away and expect prompt delivery. This changes the entire previous thinking – ten hour hotlines are no longer enough; many new regulations and laws have to be taken into account; one or two languages are no longer sufficient for the user interface and the hotline. The list can be expanded as desired. Digital transformation needs a new look at the customers – How big is the target group? Where are the customers of tomorrow? When are you active? How fast do we have to deliver? A forward-looking planning becomes impossible, especially because there is no time left to react.
- Customer loyalty is gone with one click
In the absence of personal contact it is also increasingly difficult to adjust to the customers. As a result, they remain loyal only until the next click delivers a better result. The digital transformation requires a new form of customer intimacy. For example, completely new services can offer customers added value that motivates them to come back. Examples are the history of past purchases or personal referrals depending on your own buying behavior. Additional services such as access to an exclusive network or the provision of special information are imaginable. Thus, the digital transformation has a fundamental influence on the existing business model.
Bottom line: As in the earlier centuries, it turns out that the philosopher’s stone, the digital, still produces a false shimmer. In all this it would be possible today to benefit from the digital transformation with an appropriate preparation. Delays, errors, shortcomings, the lack of foresight and the crumbling customer loyalty can be improved by overhauling the business model. The digital transformation not only requires IT systems for this, but rather involves all areas of the company. That way the digital becomes the Lapis Philosophorum of the 21st century.