“Companies need to start thinking digitally, or risk falling behind”

From the book, over the taxi, to sneaker production, virtually every industry is impacted by digitalization. Alexander Mauer explains why interim managers are quickly becoming more important than ever.

Mr. Mauer, in times of turbulent change are innovation pressure and emergent markets a risk or an opportunity for companies?

The pressure to innovate is enormous for companies. Almost every product and every service nowadays is affected by digitalization. The speed at which product cycles are shortening and technologies are becoming outdated is awe inspiring. This phenomenon presents several difficulties for companies, even for well-established industry powerhouses. On top of this new companies are entering the market with innovative ideas. Uber, for example, revolutionized the global taxi market out of nowhere. Or take the iPhone, which transformed phones to smart-phones. Ranga Yogeshwar said recently: “The top product, the one that everyone will want in 20 years, has not even been thought of yet.”

How should established companies best approach such a situation?

Die digitalen Möglichkeiten in Design, Produktion und Marketing werden immer spezialisierter und vielfältiger. Es fällt immer schwerer, die notwendige Expertise im eigenen Haus zu entwickeln und vorzuhalten.

Alexander Mauer

In every industry companies must constantly keep an overview of the external influences and keep developing their product. Especially analogue products, such as books, shoes, and cosmetic items but also services (such as Airbnb or Uber) must adapt to new standards presented by digitalization. Currently, even large German car manufacturers need to make sure that they do not get relegated to mere hardware manufacturers. Companies, especially medium sized ones, are well advised to start thinking digitally, or otherwise put their existence into jeopardy. Digital development opportunities in product design, production, and customer service are becoming increasingly specialized and diverse. At the same time, it is becoming more difficult to develop and maintain the necessary know-how within a company.

Interim managers as innovation helpers?

By all means. Experienced project managers are industry specialists that are not restricted by company politics and operational limitations. They know what is possible within the market, are capable of taking up tasks quickly, and solving problems in a structured manner. This special know-how is lacking in many companies as it is less necessary for day to day practices. Therefore, especially medium sized businesses should not shy back from engaging interim managers. Before company leadership gets nervous and makes a risky investment, consulting an interim manager is often the better option.

Foto: LDProd/istockphoto.com
the Team of proINject – Interim Networks
Change is a positive thing! We stand for successful transformations through forward-thinking process design and organisational development. We foster open, honest and well-balanced communication with all stakeholders.

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