Noerr Digital Day – digital transformation calls for companies to define clear strategies


Although digitalisation is the main topic in the German business world, many companies are at a loss as to how to bring about this change in practice. “But digitalisation requires courage, prioritisation and a clear strategy,” says Peter Bräutigam, who is hosting the Noerr Digital Day with Thomas Thalhofer today. The two Noerr partners will be guiding the participants through the conference programme, during which around 180 experts will be discussing the challenges of digital transformation in day-to-day business.

How preoccupied companies are by digitalisation was shown in a recently published study by Noerr and the Technical University of Munich. 95 per cent of German companies plan to make investments in digitalisation in the next two years, and for 68 per cent it even plays the central role. Despite this, 45 per cent of companies taking part in the study are lacking a clear digital strategy. “Yet this is an essential condition for digital transformation,” stresses Noerr partner Gerald Reger, who will be presenting the survey at the Digital Day.

For Peter Bräutigam the focus is on two tasks: “On the one side, IT infrastructure and systems have to be made fit for the future.” At the same time, the expert encourages companies to put new digital business models (including disruptive ones) into practice early as a pilot project: “The success of a business model does not prove itself on the drawing board – the start-up mentality can definitely serve as an example in this context.”

The wide-ranging challenges for companies from all lines of industry are the subject of the panel discussions and workshops at today’s Digital Day – ranging from antitrust and competition law questions to problems involving liability for machines capable of acting autonomously and digital supply chains based on blockchains. “The diverse range of issues, especially legal ones, connected to digitalisation calls for the legislator to be prudent when introducing regulations,” says Bräutigam. The IT specialist believes that contractual solutions are preferable and that harmonised, pan-EU law such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation are better than isolated national solutions.

Gerald Reger gives encouragement to companies who are not able to tackle the transformation on their own: “Our survey shows that acquiring digital know-how through M&A transactions is playing an increasingly greater role, and in many cases turns out to be a real success.” The authors of the survey also examined what factors lead M&A transactions to be successful. Key criteria are the use of digital tools to value the company and optimise portfolios. Apart from this, a great deal of attention should be paid to “soft factors”. These include integrating the target company’s organisational structure, culture and management information systems into the buyer’s own organisation. At the same time, success depends crucially on convincing the target’s employees to embrace joint objectives and keeping them on board.

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