07 Oct 2019

Thomas Osburg provided lecture “Digital transformation beyond technology” at GSOM SPbU

On October 3, 2019, at GSOM SPbU Thomas Osburg, Professor of Sustainable Leadership and Digital Innovation at the Fresenius Business School in Munich, held open lecture “Digital Transformation Beyond Technology” at GSOM SPbU.


Digital transformation today is one of the most important tasks for many companies around the globe. Thomas Osburg talked about digital transformation as a process, and shared his personal 25 years of experience working in global IT companies.

The professor identified four key areas in which the company management should analyze their readiness for digital transformation: technologies, employees, readiness of the organization for changes and availability of resources.

The path to the company's digital transformation lies in analyzing the accessibility of today's key digital technologies: the use of big data, artificial intelligence, speech recognition technology, 3D printing, increasing the available urban space through the use of air and underground space and digital medicine. Speaking about technologies, the professor emphasized that they bring both new opportunities and new risks and challenges that must always be remembered.

The next stage is the analysis of readiness for changes for company employees — how much competencies, capabilities and tools for changes do they have? Can employees be trained?

The third stage is an analysis of the organization’s readiness for digital transformation. Thomas Osburg invites company owners to answer the following questions:

  • Why do you want to engage your company in Digital Transformation?
  • Are you aware of the digital strategy of your organization?
  • How important is digitization for your organization according to you?
  • How urgent is the digitization of your organization according to you?
  • To what extent is your organization prepared for the changes that digital will bring according to you?
  • Where do you see the largest potential for Digitalization?
  • How would you compare your organization to other players in the industry on the following dimensions?
  • What are the major hurdles/challenges for your organization?
  • How fast does your organization go from an idea to actual development according to you?
  • The people in your organization have the right skills to adapt to the changes that digital will bring.
  • Which of the dimensions do you need to deal with first to change our organization for the digital age?

The professor especially emphasized that the company's vision is the basis of its digitalization. To transform a company, managers need a clear benchmark for work. They should distribute the vision at all levels of management.

The last important point on the road to digitalization is resources. The main resources that should be in the company are money, time, competent specialists, competent management and access to technology.

Summing up, Professor Osburg identified several tasks that need to be solved in order to accelerate the digitalization of the company:

  • Audit the state of digital transformation at your company.
  • Study the digital customer journey and organize efforts around insights and opportunities.
  • Study the employee journey to improve EX.
  • Make data the center of your decision-making.
  • Align digital transformation investments with business objectives.
  • Consider carefully how technology trends factor into your digital transformation roadmaps.
  • Prioritize a culture of transformation and innovation.


Thomas Osburg is an internationally experienced Professor, Entrepreneur, Advisor and former Executive Director with over 25 years of experience in leadership positions working for global IT companies (i.e Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments) in the U.S., China, Germany and France. He has a proven track record in developing and scaling innovative strategies with high impact. His sectors of expertise cover Digital Transformation, Strategic Leadership and Corporate Sustainability. www.thomasosburg.com