Scaling and Digitisation – Where to Start?

Esson Partnership

Everywhere you look these days, there is some expert or another exhorting businesses to Digitise, to Embrace the Internet of Things, to Join the Industry 4.0 Revolution. In the most extreme cases, we are being told to “Evolve or Die!”

Within the world of Scaleup, Digitisation is identified as a key enabler and transformer of businesses. So, if you are a non-digital business who makes things, sells things, or just simply does things the old fashioned way, where do you start?

I worked with over fifty businesses within the Scaleup North East programme, mainly manufacturers, but also IT and architecture. The common theme in most of these is that their business leaders are really good at their core product or service, and that is what has enabled them to be successful and grow their business to its current activity level.

However, with the obvious exception of the IT businesses I support, the vast majority of my Scaleup businesses have had no education in IT or Digital Technologies, and are too small to enjoy the luxury of employing a Digital specialist in their business. So, in this world of ever evolving technology, where do you start, or do you even bother?

First things first, you should definitely bother. If you’re not, you can be sure one of your competitors will be. What next, well having spent around 20 years of my career bringing new technologies and processes into the businesses I have led, I would offer the following personal advice to all businesses:

  1. Try to stay reasonably close to the leading edge of technology, but avoid the Gung Ho approach of bleeding edge technology adoption. In other words, try and invest at least a little bit of time in finding out what new technologies are out there which could help improve your products or your business processes.

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