“One chops wood, and thirty-three others stand around and watch – this is the Central Office.” It would be hard to find a more apt and pointed description of failed attempts at teamwork than this quote from Kurt Tucholsky. This is the sort of problem that many departments seem to be facing in the digital transformation of their business: which of us is actually pulling our weight and “chopping the wood”? Us, everybody, or nobody at all? The enabler study conducted by IT market research company techconsult shows which departments demonstrate real digital initiative, and which are lagging behind.”

And the winner is

When it comes to solutions aimed at digitally transforming a company , the management, the IT department, and the specialist departments have proven to be the main players. But which of them sees itself as being the main department responsible for digitalization?
None of then! According to techconsult, no clear and explicit enabler of digitalization can be identified. No department considers itself THE driving force. Instead, the role varies from company to company, or is carried out collectively.

Somebody else’s problem?

Does that mean that no department really wants to drive change, and everyone just hopes that somebody else will do it? Fortunately not! It “only” shows that digitalization cannot be narrowed down to a single area, task, or viewpoint. Rather, it relates to technical IT as well as new means of capturing information, to the work processes of every employee as well as the strategic decisions of the management. This is to say, the whole company.

Is Business Development Lagging Behind?

A more differentiated picture is seen when we look at how the departments in question view the other departments. The departments, for example, are less likely to see themselves as strong drivers for more digitalization in relation to management or IT.

This is

  1. hardly surprising, as experience shows that both of these areas are more involved in the development and implementation of digital strategies and solutions.
  2. a sign that finance and controlling, quality management, etc. are less likely to see concrete usage scenarios in digitalization. They therefore recognize less need for action and, accordingly, do less to drive digitalization.

Business development is particularly notable here. It sees great potential in digitalization for the company as a whole, but not for its own needs. As a consequence, this area very rarely drives digital transformation itself.

Conclusion: Digitalization…

…is and should be driven by everyone in the company: IT, management, and the specialist departments. This is a big plus, not least because it means that the responsibility is not shifted entirely to a single area such as IT.
But it does not absolve CEOs and executives from making sure that all divisions of the company actively engage with the topic of digital transformation. This is made all the more important when we consider that one in five employees in Germany dreads the introduction of new digital technologies. Among them, surprisingly, many executives. Therefore, digitalization must be a matter for the boss too – and, above all, should be engaged with actively.