Depending on an industry’s degree of digital maturity of and the relative transformation requirements of the company in question, different skill profiles are required to recognise and avert impending disruptions at an early stage and to secure and expand existing competitive advantages.

As a general rule, it’s about systematically driving forward digital transformation within a company and “challenging” the direction and speed of progress. Existing business models must be questioned, adapted or completely taken apart in order for new models to be developed for new products and services. Often, these products and service have only been made possible through digitalisation.

Many companies are lacking the necessary “digital competence”. In a world that is changing so quickly and fundamentally, this can lead rapidly from a strategic crisis to an existential threat, even in established organisations. Whether a travel group, a medium-sized automotive supplier or a retail outlet – you are at risk from disruption by new, dynamic and digitally savvy market entrants!

In order to to survive the digital change, companies must seek out efficient, sometimes unconventional, external expertise, installing digital advisory boards and founding up start-ups to torpedo their own business model and identify vulnerabilities and potentials. The installation of a digital advisory board, in particular, has proven itself a worthwhile option. While in 2013, Thomas Cook – whose parent company is a front runner on the British stock market – was still a digital advisory board pioneer, many companies from a wide range of industries have since followed suit.

As can be seen from Figure 1, a digital advisory board essentially has four core tasks:

  • New ideas – that is, the provision of inspiration and new ideas from other industries, start-ups etc.
  • Other perspectives – that is, addressing situations from different angles to enable opportunities and risks (e.g. of business models) to be evaluated anew
  • Digitale Expertise – that is, the provision of digital competence and experience in relevant and/or acute areas of concern
  • Sparring partner – that is, consistent “challenging” of the status quo (including of existing business models) with an independent “external pair of eyes”

Overall, a digital advisory board enables companies to obtain the necessary know-how for their respective situations without the slow and potentially superfluous expansion of their own personnel.

FOSTEC & Company is available to support you in such matters and will staff your board in a tailor-made fashion to include e-commerce experts, start-up entrepreneurs, risk capital providers and big data experts. Please feel free to  contact us for further information!

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Markus Fost, MBA, is an expert in e-commerce, online business models and digital transformation, with broad experience in the fields of strategy, organisation, corporate finance and operational restructuring.

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Markus Fost

Managing Partner
Markus Fost, MBA, is an expert in e-commerce, online business models and digital transformation, with broad experience in the fields of strategy, organisation, corporate finance and operational restructuring.

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