WHU on Controlling Blog

Nobody needs digital transformation...

Professor Utz Schäffer, Institute for Management Accounting and Control, and Dr. Reinhold Achatz, Thyssenkrupp AG

This is a statement made by Dr. Reinhold Achatz, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Corporate Function Technology Innovation at Thyssenkrupp AG, whom I interviewed recently. However, the sentence continues: "... so long as it does not generate added value".

This statement should be just what we controllers are wanting to hear. “Digitalization” has emerged as an omnipresent buzzword. In all of the companies that I know, digitalization tops the list of strategic priorities. They are all analyzing what digitalization means – or will mean - for their business. However, the fear of missing an unavoidable course of action should not mean that critical reflection and the balancing of interests are ignored entirely.

A rational view of digitalization is required – and who would be better equipped to do this than controllers? Reinhold Achatz calls for entrepreneurial thinking and a willingness not to write off digital projects straightaway, but instead to recognize their potential for driving innovation. Digitalization, whether hype or guarantee of economic survival – controllers have to learn to navigate this narrow path.

You can read the full interview with Reinhold Achatz on our website and in Controlling & Management Review.

Author: Professor Utz Schäffer



Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer is director of the Institute of Management Accounting and Control (IMC) of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar. His primary research areas are controlling and strategy execution as well as the roles of CFOs and controllers.

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