Panos Papaioannou – Simbiosis


Panos Papaioannou

Business Development & Strategy officer


Simbiosis is a consulting company in the agri-food sector in Greece.

For what reasons did you decide to introduce a process of digital transformation? 

First of all, I wanted to optimise my existing business processes in order to maximise efficiency and minimise costs arising from non-automated processes. Another important reason was to improve the change management process within my company. Additionally, digital transformation helped me control and be aware of specific legal issues that arose, especially issues related to data protection.


Did you face problems during the implementation of the digital transformation? How did you handle these?

The two main challenges I faced during the implementation were the lack of employees able to support the transformation and of course the financial constraints. In relation to the first of these, I invest plenty of personal time and I asked for the help of a consultant in order to implement the changes efficiently and in good time. Regarding the financial constraints on SMEs in our today’s world, I had to adapt to the limited funds and focus on basic digital changes.


Where do you see the biggest benefits for your company after starting the process of digital transformation?

Some initial quantifiable benefits since starting our digital transformation have been savings in terms of time, a reduction in our use of paper and, most importantly, the introduction of a new management approach”


Which new technologies and tools are you using and why did you choose these?

The digital transformation plan included the use of cloud computing in order to minimise the dependency of users on specific hardware and to secure the availability of any information processed from my business. We made use of social media to advertise the business and be more visible online. We used digital marketing tools in order to target customers that we had previously not been able to reach.

We also started using an e-business tool to help us achieve our digital transformation objectives.


Were you confronted with sceptical employees during the implementation? Which level of the business did this resistance come from?

As the number of employees is low there was not any confrontation with regards to the implementation. Of course there was some uncertainty, just as there would be with any change.


How did you convince them of the new strategy?

The strategy had been agreed upon in advance and all employees were informed about the transformation before it took place in our company. We also discussed in detail all of the benefits that we would have from digital transformation.


What did you want to achieve by implementing this process of digital transformation? What are your future plans?

We need to be ready to introduce the next ITC wave of digital evolution.


What advice do you have for an organisation that is just starting or wants to start a process of digital transformation?

Have a flexible strategy ready. Move to a digital framework. Approach transformation with a technological horizon in mind i.e. change to the extent that a new need for change is likely to appear. Do not get stuck on new changes since they will rapidly age.


What risks have you identified that have not yet been solved through the process of digitalisation?

Security, a clear understanding of digital language by employees (a reduced critical approach to the physical and conceptual meaning of information), too much new information to be digested.