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Demographic change as the greatest challenge for digital transformation

As part of the annual conference of VKU (Association of Local Utilities), Coastal States Working Group, Waste Management and Clean City Services Division, in Wilhelmshaven, Ms Friederike Laurushkus, partner at civity, reported on interdependencies between demographic change and digital transformation.

The theme of the event was ‘Innovative – Digital – Sustainable – to Square or not to Square the Circle’. In addition to presentations on innovative approaches for recycling and state-of-the-art vehicles and the impact of climate change on industry, the conference also addressed the impact of demographic change on human resources management by municipal companies.

The talk by Ms. Lauruschkus in front of more than 100 representatives from waste management and city cleaning provided insights into a study carried out by civity. The opportunities and challenges of digital transformation in the municipal sector as well as the readiness of companies for change were identified and evaluated. Pressure on the sector is constantly increasing. Inside the sector, an ageing workforce is forcing companies to rise to the challenges they face as employers in the digital age in order to attract younger people, in particular, to this sector. On the outside, changing customer demands for digital platform solutions and the availability of new technologies for disposal or separating recyclables are influencing the digital transformation of companies.

The study shows that although municipal companies have recognised the need for digital transformation, the corporate mindset that exists there is often still an obstacle to implementation. In addition to a clear strategy, however, the corporate mindset must always be considered in order to successfully implement this change. The focus of digital transformation must shift from technology to people with their attitudes and behaviour in the organization because this is where the success or failure of a company’s transformation is decided.