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Bitkom: The lack of money and time is slowing down digitization.

Published on

June 13, 2018

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Flourishing business and full capacity utilization - at the same time lack of time and lack of money: According to the industry association Bitkom, German companies are making only slow progress with digitization.

In a representative survey in the run-up to the Cebit in Hanover (June 11-15), 32 percent of the managers surveyed said the biggest hurdle was lack of time in day-to-day business. Insufficient financial resources were complained by 21 percent. In the previous year the figures were 18 and 14 percent respectively.

Bitkom President Achim Berg appealed to companies to develop a digital strategy, provide investment funds and use future technologies. The business of tomorrow is exclusively digital, he said, and must be prepared now in the economic boom. "Digitalization is not a natural phenomenon, but a design task." He pointed out the great importance for many German industries - from car manufacturing to logistics, from medical technology to finance. There the German economy is the world leader, and this good starting position must be used.

In principle, a great openness towards digitization can be observed in companies, according to the Bitkom results: 89 percent of the managers surveyed see it as an opportunity, only eight percent as a risk. Whereas in 2017, 68 percent said they would follow a digital strategy in individual areas or in the entire company, this year the figure is 78 percent.

This leads to faster adjustments to changing market conditions: For example, almost one in two companies (48 percent) offers new products and services in response to digital change. 63 percent (2017: 62 percent) adapt existing products and services. 37 percent (2017: 31 percent) are taking products off the market as a result of digitalization. Digital platforms are becoming increasingly important. Two thirds (64 percent) of all companies surveyed use them in one way or another. Bitkom President Berg sees a great need to catch up with small and medium-sized companies. The smaller the company, the more difficult it is for decision makers to develop digital business models. Not even a quarter of all companies with less than 500 employees want to invest specifically in this area this year (23 percent). Even fewer are in small companies with 20 to 99 employees (19 percent). Among the larger companies, the figure is more than half (57 percent). Berg: "We absolutely have to increase the efforts of German medium-sized companies"

This seems to be necessary. Only 25 percent of the companies still see Germany in the top group worldwide in terms of digitization. A year ago the figure was 36 percent. Conversely, 24 percent of those surveyed say that their company's existence is threatened by these developments.
33 percent have problems coping with the digital change.

For the study, Bitkom Research surveyed managing directors and board members of 604 companies with 20 or more employees in Germany. According to Bitkom, the results are representative for the overall economy.

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