Digital Culture 4.0: The Flat Structure


A Digital Transformation affects every part of the firm, or at least if done correctly, it should!

A failure to understand the problems the projects face and a lack of regular communications during the design and development phase frequently are at the root of the causes. How do you overcome this?

But let's start with.....

But Why Bother?

They say it's one of the top priorities of the CIO? Surely this has to be the 1st mistake?

There appears to be two issues here; firstly and arguably it has to be at the top of the list and secondly, surely this is about long-term survival and therefore is a C-Suite top priority. Or, are we all too short-term focused? Are the shareholders in denial over their long-term viability versus short-term financial needs?

The world is going digital, but for the vast majority, the technologies, skills, and processes that are in place do not translate to a digital world.

As a result, with such a major and long-term, arguably never ending change, what will the business enjoy from a successful digital transformation? And can the benefits outweigh the cost and emotional effort needed to complete the project?

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Number One has to be an improved Customer Experience. B2C or B2B, it matters not, they are all expecting to have what they want, when they want it, and with supreme value from any service and, or product. A better CX is improved revenues. Digital is merely the most efficient enabler, be that on the front-end or back-end. What's critical is creating new and improved ways of building customer relationships and experiences, along with anticipating probable challenges along the way. It's the CEO that's needed in planning, preparing and driving home the new way.

Improved Availability

When your business Touch-Points adapt to any B2C/B2B customer device, you’re in front of your prospects and customers all the time. More and more customers want to gather information on your business wherever and whenever they want and by fully digitalizing your business from End-2-End enables that entire purchasing and owning experience.

Reduce the friction with your customer and make it easy for them.

Improved Efficiency

More often than not, it's not a technical solution that makes the biggest difference to the organization, but instead a process issue. Better machines make small differences, but better teams make an organization.

The C-Suite jumping in to drive improvements, increasing the enthusiasm and changing the future, supported by new technologies.

Improved Intelligence

Digital allows data that allows intelligence across every second of the value chain. An ever improving decision making ability


Need I say more?

The Difficulties of Digital Transformation

The challenges predominantly revolve around an absence of C-Suite involvement, to drive the ship to where it wants to go, over the long-term:

Engage the layers

Delivering digitalization across every aspect of the business requires the involvement and focus of each department. Sometimes there's politics, sometimes people "live in the problem", rather than focus on the solution and some see no need to change. Over-communication and the involvement of the C-Suite (Top-Floor) to the Shop-Floor is the only way through.

Ongoing Flexibility

Digitalization isn't just about Information Technology, but it's about Operational Technology adjustments, new work processes and a shift in mindset to new data driven intelligence. You're driving the enterprise in order to deliver a much improved product and or service.

It is not a threatening time, but a time to focus on the people, bring them together in the enterprise-family, to mentor, train and change a culture in so many ways.

Thereafter to adapt in an ever-changing world, means constant fine-tuning.

The Flat Structure

The start-up firms have the advantage of enjoying the "clean sheet of paper", without boundaries, structure or politics to hinder a new, leaner and more agile approach to doing business and they are disrupting the marketplaces.

They bring a 'flat' organizational structure to the market, one that's configured as a network rather than a hierarchy. The communication pathways and therefore decision making response times are dramatically faster. The flattening of the hierarchical pyramid is intended to eliminate layers of delay or dilution of message and increase the control of lower-level managers. The rationale behind this is clear: to create a streamlined, more efficient and more responsive organization. By doing this, the firm not only enhances performance, but also improves employee accountability and morale.

Of course in established corporations, set in their hierarchical mindsets, this is very difficult to achieve, even at a C-Suite level.

Over the coming weeks I will explore some of those organizations that have successfully introduced the more agile, flat structure and some of those that have not.


Creating the Flat Structure is for an already established organization one of the hardest to deliver. 

But as always for any entry to the 4th Industrial Revolution / Industry4.0, it start with the business leader grasping the technologies out there and what is a new Digital Culture 4.0 before taking any further action. Once understood in detail and having seen some of the industry best practices, the time comes to invite in some external talent.

Talent with experience of the industry, the technology and some best practices is essential in guiding the ship in the right direction.

We're relentless in our pursuit of locating the very best talent to enable the Digital Enterprise 4.0

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