The German Economy Must Get Moving in the Digital Transformation

SVI-Endowed Chair of Marketing
From left: Prof. Dr. Heribert Meffert, Prof. Dr. Manfred Kirchgeorg, Samih Elhage, Gerhard Berssenbrügge, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Dr. Jürgen Meffert

Prof. Dr. Manfred Kirchgeorg, who holds the SVI-Endowed Chair of Marketing organized the 69th Leadership Talk of the Academic Society for Marketing and Business Leadership titled “Strategy and Process Go Digital” in cooperation with McKinsey in the fall of 2015. The tenor of the event was that the digital transformation will be accompanied by profound changes in the German economy. However, it can also release great potential. Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS and professor at the University of Bonn, called on SMEs to utilize the opportunities of the digital transformation. While German companies secretly have the willingness to change, it must now be followed by concrete actions. Germany has already partially lost the first half of the digital transformation. If no deeds follow, it will also lose in Industry 4.0. Following the motto “Culture eats strategy”, the power of analog inertia us enormously strong in many companies when the leadership does not commit to the transformation. Therefore, enterprises are facing the challenge of taking along tens of thousands of employees on the journey to digital transformation. This is an important leadership task which needs to be initiated and accompanied by top-level management. “Our companies have to bring their relevant assets – customer access, knowledge of the industry, core competencies – over to the digital world. CEOs must transform their companies at scale. Small ventures will not be sufficient,” says Dr. Jürgen Meffert, Leader of Digital McKinsey B2B. Samih Elhage, Vice-Chairman of the Board and CFOO of Nokia Networks, who has successfully completed the radical transformation process of the group since 2012, also impressively showed that scale, focus and speed are required for digital transformation and require clear priorities.

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