Digital collaboration as a basis for business models of the future

21 November 2016

Cloud solutions are supporting many industries in their digital transformation and the seizing of new market opportunities

In this day and age, hesitation will ultimately lead to missing out on opportunities. The general trend of digital transformation is challenging businesses to review their existing processes unless they want to be left behind in competition. This development concerns industrial companies, service providers and all sectors where it is important to understand customer needs and to bring the required solutions on the market on less time and money than the competition.

New forms of innovation

The transport network company “Uber” is a good example of how digital transformation can turn an entire industry upside down. Even if some countries still impose legal barriers on Uber, the company which is already operating in 514 cities throughout the world can hardly be curbed in the long run. Further examples from B2B show other new forms of innovation, such as Hilti which no longer sells drilling machines to construction companies but drilled holes. All of these examples have two things in common: First, the fundamental needs of end consumers are at the centre of attention. Second, entirely new services have been created on the basis of digitisation and the collection, networking and usage of data that goes with it. In many sectors these services can only be implemented if several companies are collaborating – in real-time. To this end, mobile access on data and documents as well as individual access rights are required. The workflows that are used to process this information must be standardised, digitised and automated. Agile collaboration applications of this kind are usually based on a Cloud solution. They increase productivity and provide the basis for new business models. The following criteria are important in the choice of a high-quality Cloud provider: Highest levels of certified security and compliance standards, proven Cloud solutions, European providers with an independent IT infrastructure (hardware, software, development), options for adaptations by the customer, flexibility of hardware and software integration (e.g. SAP) into the customer’s IT environment, continued development of the solution as well as quick, personal and qualified support.

Automating and controlling processes in recognition of legal requirements

Many businesses are currently investing in digital transformation. According to a current IDC study, annual growth rates in this domain will achieve more than 16 percent up until the year 2019. The implementation of such projects often goes hand in hand with the need to adhere to certificates and guidelines. While this may at first sound like an obstacle, it often turns out to be an advantage: If the processes required for a certification or the adherence to guidelines are optimally integrated into a Cloud solution, internal costs are reduced, productivity is increased and the quality of controlling the processes that need to be documented is enhanced. Several European Cloud solutions have already been certified as being revision-safe in this area of application – for example according to the auditing standard IDW PS 880. Continuous automatic versioning of all data, documents and even process areas enables the respective compliance guidelines such as ISO 9001 for quality management to be met. Cloud solutions that furthermore offer digital signature blocks, secure authentication and functions such as auditing even allow to meet the strict GxP guidelines required for pharmaceutical companies, the food processing industry or medical technology. With a Cloud solution that has already been validated according to EU GxP Annex 11 – such as for example the Fabasoft Cloud –, organisations operating in a regulated environment can save both time as well as money on validating their electronic systems built on that Cloud solution.

New sources of revenue with the Cloud

According to IDC, businesses will spend 43 percent of their IT budgets on projects dealing directly with digital transformation. Increasing productivity while saving costs is a priority at many organisations. However, this also raises the risk that they continue to stay within traditional business models. In order to open up new business opportunities, the focus of attention must not be placed on making savings through the use of a Cloud solution, but on finding new revenue-generating services that are based on the needs of the customers.

Conclusion

It is one thing to design innovative services that are built on digitisation. Collecting the necessary data and turning it into valuable information is yet another. But the highest level is achieved if this information is turned into knowledge with the aid of business know-how, process standards and experience from within the own organisation. Collaboration applications that are based on a Cloud solution provide this knowledge to several organisations in a secure and control