By Juanjo Martínez, Nació Digital, Nov 6, 2020, 4:11 p.m.
“Digitization” is one of the most repeated words lately in the business world. All the experts insist that this is the way, even the only one. Digital transformation is the key element for business competitiveness in a changing, demanding and increasingly difficult market to predict, where uncertainty has become the norm. Now, there can be no technological evolution without an innovative and creative corporate culture. And really the issue is not based on digitizing the previous analog processes, it is about digitally reinventing your processes.
According to the Vanadis Consultant, before the pandemic only 13% of Spanish SMEs had a digitization plan, a percentage that rose to 45% in large companies. The main reasons for not taking the step are ignorance, economic cost and also not having a trusted provider. Not having a good presence on the Internet can pose a high risk of disappearing. Digital marketing, cybersecurity, reliable and powerful connection, electronic commerce, telepresence, CRM, ERP … everything has to be oriented so that both your customers and potentials find you and can interact digitally. There are many technologies at all levels and many without cost that adapt to any type of company.
Going back to corporate culture, as Warren Buffett said, “when the tide goes out you see who was swimming naked”, and now is a good time. The culture of presentialism, rigid schedules, trips always at the same times in the same workplace, time management and performance must be reviewed. Those who have not already evolved towards a culture of trust and independence will have a difficult time. The key element lies in the ability of organizations to adapt and learn quickly. The skills of the leaders and the capabilities of the teams make the difference.
Those of us who work in the “Flex Offices” or “Business Centers” industry are used to working with innovative companies that require flexibility, inspiring spaces, with the ability to adapt to changing needs and punctual support. I am referring to spaces for productivity, socialization, connectivity where air quality and ergonomics are important aspects. Of course, you must have infrastructures and services aligned with attracting and retaining talent. In short, a space for each activity.
In matters of digital transformation, the private sector has done its homework, is it doing it, or is it at least psyched, but can we say the same about the public sector? Certainly not, or at least not enough. Only the AEAT and the TGSS are digitally advanced, that is, the departments that are dedicated to collecting. Instead, those who must provide service are light years away from the needs of companies and citizens. Justice or any administrative procedure is slow, complex and messy, weighing down the competitiveness of companies and, therefore, impoverishing society. And it is not an easy task because it is not only about hardware, processes and software, this has an easy solution if there is a will, which remains to be seen. This is about people, and for the most part, we have within the public servants collective a population without the necessary qualifications, aged and unmotivated, and if this is not enough, they are led by politicians, with short-term projects and guided by the interests of your party.
We have seen it recently in the management of the pandemic with support for nursing homes, with the purchase of self-protection material, with justice stopped for too long and, especially, in the malfunction of the SEPE, leaving many months unpaid for workers in ERTE, offices closed, telephones that were not attended and, to add insult to injury, the web stopped working for hours or days every time there was a regulatory change. Also with the famous minimum vital income, announced with great fanfare by some leaders, but many times mission impossible for those who needed it.
We have many success stories around us such as education, public-private collaboration in Finland and digital administration in Estonia. These are countries where political leadership is non-existent and the administration is extremely efficient like Switzerland. We are extremely liberal countries such as New Zealand, Australia or Denmark, where everything is easy for economic development and has an excellent level of public services and social protection. We also have cases like India which became the country of Informatics by political will. Rajiv Gandi, also known as “Rajiv Computerjee” promoted computerization and computer training, generating a new middle class of computer scientists serving the whole world.
It can be done, of course it can be done, but you have to have the will!