When the city hall bells announce the last few seconds of the past year, I am always struck by excitement and expectation. On the one hand, I am amazed and a bit wary of how fast another year has passed. On the other hand, I am excited to see what challenges and surprises the New Year will bring. I guess this is how everyone feels on the last night of the year. At the same time, we proclaim the usual New Year resolutions such as exercising more, spending more quality time with the family or getting a new job. In reality, I believe the worst time of the year to make New Year resolutions is when you have a glass of champagne in your hand.
For me, the best time to make plans for the New Year is when the hangover has settled and the New Year has kicked off. I usually spend the first days in January to look ahead and make plans. And I really enjoy that time of the year! This year, I have no doubt about what my professional New Year resolution will be, as the first thing that shows up on my agenda for 2018 is “digitalization”.
If Denmark wants to succeed in the global marketplace, it is crucial that we are on board the digital journey. We all have a responsibility in helping Denmark not to fall behind in the digital race. At Columbus, we have worked with a digital vision for a while now, and we have established a clear vision of where we wish to be 5 years from now. However, this is unfortunately not the case for many Danish companies, which is why my New Year resolution for 2018 is to help companies in Denmark to digitalize.
I therefore challenge leaders of Danish companies to spend the first days of the year to set their digital benchmark for 2018. It is a journey that can be organized in many ways, but one way to get started is to follow these 5 steps:
For many companies, digital transformation can seem overwhelming and unmanageable. But in reality, it is simply about thinking big but starting small! Be ambitious in your vision and remember that it needs to be transformative! Your digital vision should not be a continuation of your current vision. It must fundamentally redefine your business model, your processes or your product with the help of technology.
Always start by looking at your customers. The winners are the ones who are able to understand their customers’ needs and know how to combine them with digital initiatives.
2018 is, once again, going to be an exciting year for Danish companies. Digitalization is the hot topic of discussion and the digital clock is ticking across all industries. Now is the time to react at executive level and during board meetings, as digitalization cannot be outsourced to the IT department. The target has to be set by Management, and this requires ambition, insight and action.
Happy New Year!
Thomas Honoré is Chief Executive officer and President of Columbus.