The anatomy of Digital Transformation: prioritizing data, not the ‘algorithms’

Both VET educators and SMEs managers, self-employed individuals, and owners of small businesses and
microbusinesses navigate in an increasingly complex online environment where there is more data to access, manage,
analyze, and disseminate than ever before. Digital transformation will impact all subject areas of a business, and in a
growing number of professional and private endeavors.
Digital transformation, on the other hand, is a broader term that refers to the process of using digital technologies
to improve organizational performance. This can involve anything from streamlining processes and improving customer
service to developing new products and services. But digitalization is just one part of digital transformation.
Digitalization is the process of taking data transform it in a digital format and making it more accessible and useful
for the business. One of the key benefits of digitization is that once data is in a digital format, it can be easily transferred
to other devices or computers making it more accessible, easier to search, sort, and analyze to generate products and
service-oriented that better meet the needs of customers as well as enable accurate predictions of asset failure or
customer demand. Today artificial intelligence help businesses in leverage and analyze with more facility mass
amounts of data. What is surprisingly to know is that most of the popular algorithms in use today are freely available
because it’s the data that has proprietary value, not the algorithm used. So if data has become one of the most
valuable resource, and is something we are able to continuously generate, it is quickly becoming time-sensitive for EU
SMEs managers, self-employed individuals, and owners of small businesses and microbusinesses to review their
digitalization strategy.
Only about 20% of the companies interviewed in the activities of the DigitUp project navigate a data digitalization
successfully. On average, respondents say their organizations are using five of 23 most relevant digital technologies we
asked about. Even if they are aware of the benefits of an online presence, including social media channels, marketing
campaigns, and strategy of digitalization 60% of the companies interviewed declared that they are not leveraging the
benefits coming from an active presence and a systematic marketing campaign. They reported that budget limitations
and existing skills and talent are not suitable to fulfill the requirements of digital transformation. Many people also feel
uneasy or anxious and take the data digitalization as a threat and fear the reduction of job opportunities and job losses.
In this sense, data digitalization poses many challenges for businesses requiring a significant investment of time and
For this reason DigitUp project believes that public policies play a crucial role in fostering the digital transformation
of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing direct financial support and tax incentives. These policies
became essential in bridging the digital divide and helping SMEs adapt to the digital era. By offering financial assistance
and tax incentives, governments can reduce the financial burden on SMEs, making it more feasible for them to invest in technology upgrades, digital skills training, and the adoption of innovative digital solutions. This not only enhances
the competitiveness of SMEs but also contributes to economic growth and job creation.
In the second place, based on the information and experiences gathered from seven European countries that
constitutes the conceptual background of the DigitUp project and in particular Consorzio di Ricerca Hypatia from Italy,
European Development Agency from Czech Republic, Geinnova from Spain, Prios from Norway, Innovation Hive from
Greece, Synthesis from Cyprus, Balkan Bridge from Bulgaria, one significant hurdles in digitalization is also guiding and
persuading SMEs to acquire and implement digital new skills, utilize new technologies and digital applications, and
innovate production processes. We hereby include some initial steps that businesses can take to embark on their
digitalization journey:
• Identify, list and assess the areas of the business where digitalization can be used to improve efficiency,
reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences.
• Research the various digital technologies freely available in the market and evaluate which ones are best
suited for the business needs.
• Clean, organize and analyze the data.
• Convert the data into a format that can be easily accessed and disseminated within the organization.
• Secure the data and draw up operating instructions in case of data breaches or data protection violations.
• Train employees on how to use the data and the various digital technologies adopted
• Monitor the data for accuracy and consistency.
• Update the data regularly.
In conclusion, the DigitUp project strives to address the knowledge and resource gaps while providing tools,
instruments, and networking opportunities necessary for SMEs, educators, and small business owners to embrace
digital transformation. The project has developed a comprehensive suite of resources, including accessible training
courses, serious games, assessment tools, and pilot activities, with the aim of facilitating high-quality training aligned
with the digital transformation needs of SMEs.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them 2022-1-CZ01-KA220-VET- 000086461

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