Change is not an option, it is an obligation. Companies that want to survive in this bracing digital era have to switch into “transformation” mode. The trade fair Bizbarcelona studies business trends and offers entrepreneurs and SMEs the tools they need to face the road ahead.

The digital revolution demands that companies in all areas of the economy engage in profound transformation, and that they involve their employees it the process. We are not just talking about the use of new technology, but about a radical cultural shift: organizations have to reinvent their business models, update their structures, innovate in products and services, redefine their internal processes and ways of working, but also rethink their relations with clients, suppliers and employees. The expression renovate or die has never been as apt as it is now. Some studies claim that 4 out of 10 companies will no longer survive in their current form in 2021, which is only four years away.

Where we are

Spain is the world’s fourteenth economy, but occupies 35th place in digitalization, (43rd if we only take into account the level of company digitalization) according to NRI 2016 (Network Readiness Index of the World Economic Forum).

Despite this starting point, 80% of Spanish entrepreneurs consider digital transformation to be both beneficial and necessary, although at present fewer than 40% admit that they are making progress in the incorporation of digital know-how and technology in their organizations. There is still so much to do, and it is especially important that companies tackle digital transformation as part of a general strategy and with a new approach.

The Levers of change

The ultimate purpose of digital transformation is not to incorporate technology, but to provide the means to ensure that major changes turn out well. In this sense, connectivity, the internet of things, mobile technology, the cloud, big data, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, cyber security and client digitalization are the tools that will make all the difference. “These technologies generate opportunities for all those who know how to use them”, says Silvia Leal, an expert in innovation leadership and digital transformation, and one of the foremost speakers at Bizbarcelona, and she adds that the key lies “in training and a good understanding of what is happening”.

Impact on employment

The digital transformation of companies also entails a re-shaping of the labour market and new ideas about work. Automation will eliminate jobs at the same time as it creates other new ones. There is already a strong increase in the demand for new professional profiles associated with areas such as digital marketing, data analysis or network security.

According to Oxford University, 47% of today’s professions will disappear in the coming decades, and 90% of those that remain will undergo a transformation and will call for new digital skills.

Continuous training to update skills will therefore be another pillar of the digital transformation that, we must remember, has to be carried out by people.