Most people agree that digitization is now the biggest driver for growth. For many years, Denmark was a pioneer in the field of IT. Three years in a row we were named the best country in the world.
In the period 2006-2008 Denmark was the world’s leading IT nation. The education level was in place, the infrastructure, a high prevalence of ICT in the population as well as a strong IT integration in business.
Since, Denmark has dropped from the far top to now being average performing in a European context. A dull thirteenth place is the conclusion of the latest report of the World Economic Forum of the world’s leading IT nations.
So even if we consider ourselves an IT nation, we may need to ask ourselves whether we exploit the full potential that lies in digitization. The report says that we do not.
It is a paradox. Talking to executives, most agree that IT is an important, if not the most important driver for growth.
It is not only a critical component of the company’s key processes, but in many industries, it has also been an integrated part of the company’s products, operations and sales channels. In fact, digitization has probably played the most vital role in the transformation of the business in most industries over the past 10-15 years.
I am convinced that most companies agree that IT in general and ERP and business systems have mission-critical nature and should be handled as such. Yet most IT development is still driven by the IT department and not by the business. And here lies a huge management challenge.
The IT department must not be left with the responsibility for ensuring that IT systems support the company’s business and strategic development. IT is the management’s responsibility.
There is no doubt that the companies that know how to handle the new digital opportunities, will experience significantly more success than their competitors. And the success of those companies will rub off on employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and contribute to growth and progress of the surrounding community as well.
Therefore, the advice to any management must be that – if not already – to ensure that IT is one of the key focus areas. To change focus from thinking about IT as “information technology” to “business technology”. This means that recognizing IT not only as a support function, but as a driver for business. Also make sure that you have the right digital skills to support the decision. This applies to both management- and specialist level. And finally remember it’s better to start by taking small steps than not to start at all.