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How to approach digital transformation

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  • Sebastian Wahle is part of a team that developed a comprehensive framework to help companies advance towards digital transformation and secure continued success in a digital world.

The Internet of Things facilitates a shift from physical products to connected digital products and services. While this shift opens up a whole world of innovative business models, it also dictates that businesses transform themselves continuously to meet new operational processes and cultural challenges. This is commonly referred to as digital transformation.

Sebastian Wahle

Sebastian is a digital strategist at Bosch Software Innovations supporting customers on their digital transformation journey. Sebastian has a research and consulting background in telecommunications / NGN / M2M / IoT and as technical expert for the European Commission. He holds a PhD from the Technical University of Berlin.

The digital transformation poses challenges for companies of many industries and requires methods to support organizations in their change process. The first step in this process is a company-wide assessment of the maturity levels of organizational capabilities. Based on such assessment, strategic actions can be derived to achieve defined target levels that help the company to progress on their way towards digital transformation.

To support this process we have developed a comprehensive framework that combines four clusters of enablers for digital transformation (shown in the figure below). The “4E-Framework” gives companies a structured approach to analyze and build capabilities that position their business in a rapidly changing commercial environment. In practice, this framework enables companies to focus activities and resources on key strategic areas, and to measure the results.

Framework that combines four clusters of enablers for digital transformation Source: Bosch Software Innovations
4E-Framework: four clusters of enablers towards digital transformation

The 4E-Framework: How does it work?

During an assessment phase, we conduct structured interviews and workshops to gather the information required to identify the company’s  strengths and opportunities for improvement. This information determines a status quo in terms of maturity per cluster (environment, empowerment, execution, expertise). The clusters themselves are further broken down into 16 enablers. We elaborate several elements of each enabler, making each of them transparent and measurable.

The information gathered during the interviews and workshops is used to assign a maturity level to each enabler (see figure below), ensuring a comprehensive description of the company’s situation. In this example, the company has already achieved the highest maturity level for “Trends”, while “Innovation culture” is at the lowest level of maturity.

Evaluation of the clusters using a concrete example Source: Bosch Software Innovations

While a full review of all enablers and their elements would go beyond the scope of this article, we here briefly introduce the clusters.

Four clusters to identify your maturity level

Environment: It is mission-critical to understand the business environment in which you operate. A clear view of your customer’s needs and current market trends is necessary to embark on the digital journey. The most successful organizations also demonstrate a degree of empathy, which allows them to understand, in greater depth, the ecosystems and various stakeholders they interact with. This presents a competitive advantage in their own positioning.

Empowerment: The empowerment cluster measures a company’s ability to lead with a clear vision, to innovate decisively, and to adapt to changes brought about through digital transformation. In particular, it captures how well an organization deals with digital leadership, how work is organized, and how employees are connected within teams and across business units.

"Businesses today need standards and practices across the organization if they want to establish an innovation culture and continuous learning."
Sebastian Wahle

Expertise: This cluster deals with the setup of capabilities that are required to approach and implement new opportunities. Technology, resources and know-how that are relevant and required are investigated in detail. Since no organization will itself possess all the capabilities it needs, this is also the right place to think about how well strategic partner management is handled.

Execution: When it comes to execution, we measure how well the company is positioned to manage and scale business functions and processes. Continuous improvement through performance management, and of the ability to adapt operations to deliver new products and services, are key indicators and drivers for sustaining business success.

While companies cannot be expected to reach full maturity for all enablers, success in digital transformation does mean that all enablers are accounted for and can achieve basic level of maturity.

To get an idea of how these clusters are addressed at Bosch, register for our 30-minute webcast, or contact us directly with your individual enquiries.

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4 Comments

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  • 16. May 2018 at 15:20

    Hallo Sebastian,

    Mir gefällt den Artikel sehr. Als eine Person, die an dem Prozess Digitalisierung teilgenommen habe, kann ich mit jeden Wort in diesem Artikel zustimmen. Ich möchte auch hinzufügen, dass während unseres letzten Projekts in Digitalisierung der Empowerment Teil gefehlt hat. Das Problem war auch, dass manchmal Unternehmen ihre eigene Geschäfts tief im Inneren nicht sich auskennen.
    Ich bin der Ansicht, dass die Digital Transformation heute sehr wichtig ist und unbedingt sollen Unternehmen Kunden auch in diesen Prozess einbeziehen.

    Tural

    Reply
    • 16. May 2018 at 16:26

      Hey Tural,
      Thanks for the feedback! Happy to read that you share our views. Wish you the best of success for your projects and looking forward to stay in touch.
      Best, Sebastian

      Reply
  • 16. May 2018 at 8:32

    Very interesting read, thanks for sharing.

    I would like to read more but the first link about “Starting your journey towards digital transformation: 3 factors to keep in mind” is not working.

    Reply
    • 16. May 2018 at 8:53

      Dear Thomas,

      thank you for the hint. The link should work again.

      Happy reading!
      The Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog team

      Reply
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