Many management teams of Romanian companies did not discuss digitalization 12 months ago. In many companies even now, this topic is not a priority on their agenda, because it is discussed about cost reduction, efficiency, productivity, and budgeting. But digitalization is the answer, at least in part, to many of these concerns.
That is why it is time for the vision of executives and managers on digitalization to become clear. There will be no type of company, no field of activity, that will not be impacted by technologies such as Big Data, Cloud, IoT, etc. With this reality, they must now build new business models, the resilience and agility of the companies they run.
To support this process, we present the answers of Valoria specialists to the following three questions:
What was the most important transformation brought by 2020 in the digitalization of companies?
Constantin Măgdălina, Emerging Trends, and Technologies Expert: In the context of the pandemic, Romanian entrepreneurs have been faced with a simple but painful truth: either adapt to the new conditions and make responsible decisions or close the business. Therefore, the biggest transformation brought by 2020 in the digitalization of companies is not as technical as it is a mindset one. After all, digitalization mainly needs a transformation of the managers’ vision and then it becomes a technical one. Moreover, 90% of actual change work is more related to the response of employees interacting with the new systems, while only 10% is related to their actual use. Under the impact of the pandemic crisis, entrepreneurs have recognized the importance of automation and the online environment and adopted new technological solutions and tools, accessed digital channels, started training people to interact in the new virtual work environment, and some have even pivoted with success towards digital business models.
Alexandra Cernian, Lecturer at the Faculty of Automation and Computers: For mature companies in terms of the digitization process, the most important transformations in 2020 have been related to business process automation and cybersecurity. The “Barometer of digitalization in Romania”, a survey conducted by Valoria and Doingbusiness.ro, shows that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are part of the digitization strategy of less than 20% of companies. Of the directors and managers who participated in the study, only 19% say they currently use RPA, while only 12% integrate AI into the company’s digitalization strategy. In terms of RPA use areas, 39% of CEOs of companies using RPA in 2020 and 33% of managers say that this technology is used in the finance department, which indicates that the untapped potential of digitization is huge.
What are your predictions regarding the evolution of digitalization in Romania in 2021?
Constantin Măgdălina, Emerging Trends, and Technologies Expert: A practical guide for anticipating the evolution of digitalization in Romania is the study conducted by Valoria and Doingbusiniess.ro: “The Barometer of digitalization in Romania”. Based on the answers provided by the directors and managers of companies in our country, we can say that at a strategic level: more and more companies want to take responsibility for the digital development of the business of a leader in the company’s management. Their strategy will increasingly include the digital component and more and more decision-makers will consider digitalization as a source of revenue growth and not a cost one. In 2020, 63% of companies in Romania, compared to 53% in 2018, said they are confident about digitization because they know to navigate this process. Therefore, the confidence in digitalization is on an increasing trend and will be consolidated in 2021. Digital business models will appear that will have a strong transformative effect on industries and will increase the level of expertise and implementation of digital solutions. Romania is obliged to climb in the DESI ranking at least one position.
Alexandra Cernian, Lecturer at the Faculty of Automation and Computers: Certainly 2021 will be a year in which the digitalization of companies will continue. The “Barometer of digitalization” shows that in Romania, 57% of companies in 2020, compared to 47% two years ago, say that digitalization has already had a great influence on them, and only 14%, compared to 11% in 2018, say that he had only a small influence. However, Romanian companies are progressing more slowly with the implementation of advanced technologies such as AI, Big Data, and RPA. Artificial Intelligence is not yet on the agenda of CEOs and managers in terms of strategy to increase the company’s business capabilities, and the results of the study show that 60% of CEOs and 61% of managers gave a negative answer to this question. Robotic Process Automation is the technology that has exploded into adoption at the level of advanced companies in digitization in all areas of activity this year, especially due to the favorable effect on the efficiency and resilience of the company’s processes.
What skills must directors and managers have to be part of the solution, not the problem?
Constantin Măgdălina, Emerging Trends, and Technologies Expert: With technology constantly evolving, directors and managers must be open and flexible to these changes. Managers should look to the future, not get stuck in the past. Look at software automation, not go back to faxing. Managers should have extensive knowledge of the use of technology in their field of business to provide their employees with the best possible resources. Creating an efficient digital document management system is one of the challenges. Managers should work with their team to create a system that works best for everyone. Ideally, one that discourages the use of paper that is often walked from one office to another. Connecting to the virtual environment can also help managers look for new talent, evaluate their customer approach, test marketing strategies, and communicate with customers in their preferred communication environment. All these management skills are adopted to be current and to set the tone for employees at work. If a manager is concerned with bringing his team and company into the digital age, then employees will follow.
Alexandra Cernian, Lecturer at the Faculty of Automation and Computers: In Romania, the three main elements that lead to the success of a company’s digitalization are: technology (69%), company management (44%), vision and strategy (39%). Directors and managers must have an effective communication and change management strategy that transparently conveys to employees the company’s digital vision and the impact it will have on their business and the company’s. In addition to vision, empathy, and adaptability, managers need a good understanding of the digital transformation process, solid knowledge of change management, and excellent communication skills to succeed in this task.