Most companies understand the importance of process digitization very well. However, most companies also seem to have trouble with implementation, as one study found out. The problem: bosses delegate responsibility, instead of managing it themselves.

On size and complexity

At least, this is what one survey commissioned by a digital consulting firm found. 2,000 major companies with annual revenues of at least 250 million euros took part in the survey. The size of these companies alone tells us that they have to deal with a complex process landscape. There has to be some room for optimization there – any company that doesn’t digitize their processes today might have to clear the field for a better prepared competitor tomorrow.

Digitize, don’t delegate

Nevertheless, lots of companies seem to be stalled out – and there’s a reason for that. Less than half of all bosses consider digitization to be part of their jobs. The rest delegate digitization. In 24 percent of the companies, CEOs or executive managers are working on digitization. In another 24 percent, the executive board is handling the issue. Thirty percent of companies, in contrast, hand over the reins to the IT department, and ten percent set up a staff unit to deal with it. The rest divide the work over multiple smaller company units that work on digital processes.

Who’s got the big picture in mind?

Well, there’s really nothing wrong with letting the IT department handle implementing digitization or participate in developing a digitization strategy. In reality, it’s a necessity. But the vision for how a company plans to set up its processes in the future needs to come from above. Someone needs to set the course, hold it all together, and make sure that the company ends up with a comprehensive digital process model. No single division can accomplish this – it’s an obligation of top management. Bosses have to drive the process forward, instead of commissioning individual departments. If they delegate too much, all they’re doing is opening the door to internal rivalries and obstruction.

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