Many companies have a difficult time to digitally (culturally) transform themselves – this has severe consequences.
Never before has our society changed as fast as it is currently doing due to the digitalisation: scientists call it a “Digital Revolution”. Heinrich Klotz, a German sociologist and publicist, talked in the 1990s about a “Second Modernity”. Sociologist Ulrich Beck believed, said Second Modernity should even be considered as a cultural reaction to the Digital Revolution.
We’re in the middle of this cultural reaction – with no end in sight – and this change is about as crucial as the Industrial Revolution or the Enlightenment were; only much faster moving. It is this fast-moving change that many companies have difficulties with.
Sports and fashion houses, bookstores and even restaurants already offer digital services to remain “in the game”. The stationary grocer, on the other hand, for the longest time didn’t feel pressured by the online business. Not many have occupied themselves with the difficult task of developing a satisfying value chain for fresh and frozen food in the online sector. Why should they? Butter, bread and eggs for home – people still like to buy these things directly in a store! Or don’t they?
An existential misbelief, as it turns out. The acquisition of the organic supermarket chain Whole Foods by online giant Amazon in June 2017 can be considered far more than a mere wake-up call. Because, to the grocery sector, Amazon was no real competition – until now.
The digital age is fast-moving and flexible. People have long since made arrangements in this new global society and digitalised their life. But many companies still are partly lagging behind this development. Profit and image suffer from this.
If factors like innovation, data-driven decision making, flexibility, agility, cross-sector and cross-brand collaborations, customer centricity, open culture and of course the mindset “digital first” aren’t considered, then stationary companies not only have a difficult time accepting the digital change – this change can’t take place in the first place. Solutions to these challenges need to be found. Because, as Amazon’s strategically smart acquisition of Whole Foods has proven: It’s not the competition that’s sleeping!
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