Focus digitization trend on optimizing business processes


According to Actinium Consulting, the current discussion on digitization is too much devoted to the development of new business models. For the time being, however, the greater advantage, especially for SMEs, lies in the productivity and profitability effects of digitizing business processes as comprehensively as possible. There is a considerable need for action here across all industries, if only because many processes are still dominated by paper documents to a considerable extent.

The recently presented report “Digital Economy” by the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW), for example, has shown the economic benefits that digital transformation can bring. It identified a direct correlation between digitization and productivity and has come to the conclusion that a one percentage point increase in the digitization of an industry leads to an increase in productivity of 0.28 percentage points on average.

“This is also the case for the digital economy,” said the report.

“This is also not surprising,” Actinium CEO Klaus Hüttl points to the productivity-inhibiting effect of paper documents in business processes as an example. “If consistent digitization is carried out, these documents exist only once and are available centrally in the system, are available to all authorized persons in the latest version at the click of a mouse, and enable continuous processing without media breaks,” he says, describing the benefits. “And if the information is available digitally throughout, objects, processes and systems can be networked across the board, and closer customer communication can also be realized.” Conversely, he says, business processes in which the medium of paper still predominates cannot be sufficiently standardized and automated.

The consultant therefore sees the digital transformation above all as an opportunity for companies to sustainably reduce their process costs and at the same time give business processes greater agility. Digitalization as a driver of innovation and productivity will significantly expand the opportunities for business process optimization. However, this requires a clear strategic orientation instead of selective measures.

“The question arises as to whether digitization of business processes should primarily be carried out through the departments’ own initiative,” Hüttl problematizes. Instead, he advocates that a binding company-wide agenda be developed that serves as a framework for operational implementation by the organizational units. “Increased involvement in the digitization of business processes should not lead to the use of a wide variety of methods and tools, as this can create new integration hurdles,” he stresses.