Digitalization

The term digitalization was originally used as a catch-all phrase to describe the replacement of analogue processes by digital ones. Nowadays, it is used more broadly to describe a comprehensive process of change in society, culture, the economy and politics – a change triggered by the increasingly global availability of digital technologies. Alternative formulations include "digital transformation" and the "digital revolution". The overriding goals of digitalization in companies are to optimize processes and increase efficiency.

Brunel gives you the right experts for your digitalization project

Are you planning to digitalize processes in your company or expand your company portfolio with additional digital applications? The right experts from Brunel in the areas of IT, web development, data analysis, hardware and software engineering and other related fields will help ensure the success of your next digitalization project – quickly, reliably and flexibly. Find out about our range of services in the areas of temporary employment, service contracts and work contracts.

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Why is digitalization important for businesses?

Digitalization permeates almost all areas of public life. Hardly any company can escape it if it wants to survive on the market. Digitalized processes are faster, more efficient and less vulnerable to disruptions, all of which can translate into measurable competitive advantages.

 

What areas of the company are going digital?

Digitalization is taking place in all areas of the company, even if not with the same intensity and speed. These days, production, purchasing/logistics, marketing and human resources are hardly conceivable in analogue form. Product volumes, delivery speeds and the reach of advertising and recruiting measures would be unable to compete without digitalization. In office environments – in accounting, archiving and documentation, for example – digitalization is perhaps not always existential but equally widespread.

 

What requirements must be met?

When it comes to digitalization in companies, many spontaneously think of heavy investments and exacting technical requirements. And yes, both are indispensable. However, the basic requirement for digitalization in companies is first of all the realization that it is necessary at all. The will to digitalize must be anchored in the corporate culture. Widespread fears must be addressed and allayed. Another prerequisite is the availability of employees with sufficient digital training.

What is the best way to plan and implement digitalization?

The digitalization of a company or parts of a company is an extensive and lengthy process, but one that will open up many opportunities for that enterprise. To best manage the associated challenges, careful planning is crucial.

 

Inventory the current status and degree of digitalization

The first step toward digitalized processes is to get an overview of the current status and review the company’s existing processes as critically as possible. To do so, both internal and external constraints and conditions should be examined to gain an understanding of where the company stands on digitalization and what processes have already been digitalized or are still analogue. The following questions should be addressed in this context:

1. How are internal processes in the company organized?
2. What does the technical infrastructure look like?
3. Which internal processes are crucial to the existence of the business model?
4. Who is responsible for implementing digitalization?

The maturity model, for example, is a good way to examine the degree to which individual processes are already digitalized. This model is always focuses on one specific process that is examined on the basis of the following criteria: technology, data, quality and organization. These four criteria are in turn subdivided into three subject areas. In the area of technology, for example, the model examines whether a process is analogue, e.g. paper-based, or already digital. Analysis also reveals whether and which process tools are used and how they are connected to each other.

 

Set your goals

The second step is to clearly define the goals to be achieved by digitalization. This involves finding out which processes urgently need to be digitalized for the company's success or in which processes digitalization would deliver a clear competitive advantage. All interfaces and stakeholders should be taken into account, together with any technical standards that are important to realization of the stated goals. Answers to the following questions are needed in this context:

1. What digitalization goal am I pursuing and why?
2. Which parts of the company and which processes will be affected?
3. Which interfaces and stakeholders do I have to take into consideration?
4. Which technical and company-specific standards must be taken into account?

 

Check available resources

Based on the results of the degree of digitalization and the defined objective, the last step should be to check what resources are available within the company and communicate future digitalization measures.

Technical infrastructure: Depending on the goal to be pursued with digitalization, you need to know which new IT components are needed and how they can be integrated in the existing IT infrastructure. To make these decisions, you must first define what is expected of the new technology. If the technical knowledge is not available within the company, you may need to consider involving external IT service providers. In the context of the technical infrastructure, adequate provision must also be made for data protection and data security.

Available knowledge: When digitalizing company processes or departments, it is important also to check whether the right knowledge is already available within the workforce. If not, further training measures should be initiated or qualified employees recruited.

Financial resources: Funding for digitalization is another key resource whose availability must be considered. New IT components, further training measures, new employees and even external IT service providers are major investments that should be well thought through.

How can companies best go digital?

The digitalization of internal processes or entire departments should always be accompanied by transparent communication with the workforce. Especially when familiar processes are changed, this often leads to uncertainty and fear. Constantly involving the employees can remedy this situation and prevent digital innovations from being perceived as a radical break with the past. At the same time, if employees are involved in the digitalization process from the beginning, they are much more likely to quickly accept the innovations. In addition, digitalization should be carried out cautiously and gradually. A concrete plan that allows sufficient time for familiarization, staff training and recruitment promises the best results. Importantly, digitalization should not be “hidden from view”. Management should allocate sufficient human and financial resources, ideally in the form of a digitalization officer. Ahead of technical implementation, it is vital to clarify which tools and systems exactly fit the company’s requirements. Strategic partnerships with technical consultants can keep operations running even when disruptions occur.

 

IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)

What used to exist only in science fiction films has long since become reality: the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIot. Along the lines of the IoT (Internet of Things), which refers to networked communication between people and devices, the IIoT is limited exclusively to the industrial environment and describes the control and monitoring of production processes with state-of-the-art technologies. The focus of the IIoT is on connectivity between industrial machines and on seamless process chains. This is made possible by integrating machine learning and big data technologies with the aim of achieving maximum efficiency and simultaneously reducing costs, as well as implementing faster processes and new business models. Today, the IIoT is already being used in the automotive, energy and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Its use is set to increase in the coming years.

 

Data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence

Data analytics is nothing new in itself. Data has always been collected for market analysis, trend monitoring and sales and production forecasts. However, due to the sheer unmanageable quantity of data, it is becoming increasingly important to process this data in such a way that companies can distill useful and valuable information from it for their own purposes. The correct evaluation of data provides companies with numerous opportunities, such as forecasts of future events, cost savings, a comprehensive understanding of customers and how to manage them, as well as the improvement of products and services. The trend here is toward the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In this context, artificial intelligence imitates human decision-making structures and pursues the goal of making independent decisions based on the analyzed data. Machine learning, on the other hand, deals with the automation of processes. Interaction between data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence will play an increasingly important role in companies in the future and be a decisive pillar of corporate success.

 

Augmented reality

The use of augmented reality in the business environment will likewise grow in importance in the years ahead. For example, computer-based reality enhancement provides furniture stores and the fashion and textile industries with a significantly better user experience. Customers in furniture stores can use augmented reality to experience how certain furniture would look within their own four walls. Fashion companies, on the other hand, give their customers the chance to virtually try on the clothes they have selected. Yet augmented reality also harbors vast potential in technical sectors. In the future, augmented reality will make machine maintenance much easier by showing technicians step-by-step instructions. Even in medicine and surgery, the trend is moving toward augmented reality. In the future, augmented reality glasses will give surgeons an enhanced perception of the inside of a patient's body. This will be made possible by pre-recorded CT scans.

How Brunel can support your next digitalization project

From analysis to conceptual design to the development and quality management of your digitalization project, our experts combine in-depth knowledge and many years of experience. In the IT sector in particular, our web developers, software and hardware engineers, cloud architects, database developers and many other experts in related fields consistently deliver innovative and sophisticated digitalization solutions, always in line with current trends and technologies.

To meet the specific demands you place on our experts, we first get a precise picture of your requirements. We are particularly interested in the specialist knowledge, professional experience, soft skills and foreign language skills that our experts should possess. In this way, you can rest assured that we are looking for just the right candidate for you, while we can focus fully on our goal of smooth and successful project implementation.

It is then up to us to find the right candidate for you. To do so, we activate our extensive global network of fully trained IT and technology experts, while also drawing on various recruiting channels and data analytics techniques. In addition, continuously and proactively targeting candidates is an important pillar of our recruiting process. Meet our experts now and find out more about our recruiting strategy.