In the context of the increasing digitalisation of production and the economy as a whole, consulting services provided by specialised service providers are surprisingly little in demand among SMEs.
A recent study commissioned by Bitkom found that a good three-quarters of the managing directors of medium-sized companies surveyed did not want to use outside consulting services for the digitization of their companies.
The same study shows a completely different picture for larger companies. Only a quarter of the companies do not plan any outside help so far, almost half have already made use of consulting services, and another quarter plan to use external experts for implementation. The figures between the larger companies and the SME sector thus diverge widely. While 49 percent of the larger companies have already used external consulting services on the topic of digital transformation, this figure is just 18 percent for SMEs.
Bitkom Managing Director Dr. Bernhard Rohleder also points out the dangers of going it alone in detail. The digital transformation is not merely an optimization of existing processes within the company, but also requires a targeted restructuring and the development of new business processes and models. Small and medium-sized companies are well aware of this, but all too often there is a lack of implementation in business practice.
This is aggravated by the fact that research and development of disruptive technologies in this context usually takes place outside the industry. Anyone who does not want to suffer a real competitive disadvantage or run the risk of working with outdated technologies or even being forced out of the market with outdated products therefore needs expert knowledge in the field of digital transformation. Bringing expertise into the company as a consulting service and keeping your own production and business processes up to date by exchanging information with start-ups in this area is therefore an important component in staying in the market.
A further look at the figures provided by the Bitkom study reveals even more differences. Not only does the willingness to bring consulting services in-house differentiate between medium-sized and larger companies, but also within the industries. Thus, medium-sized companies are not only generally reluctant, they are also strongly or very strongly reluctant, depending on the industry affiliation, when it comes to consulting services for digital transformation.
Surprisingly, the service providers are ahead in terms of the use of external consulting services for digital transformation. A good 26 percent of SMEs in this sector have already done so, and a further three percent plan to take advantage of such assistance. In the industry, 23 percent have already made contact with consulting services, and another seven percent are planning to do so. The retail sector is particularly reticent, only twelve percent have asked for consulting services, another twelve percent are planning to do so. Here in particular, a rethink should take place quickly.
Some companies are certainly afraid that the consulting only leads to paper, which in the end is not usable. "We at asioso stand for consulting with a firm grip. We don't produce off-the-wall presentations but ideas & concepts that can be demonstrably implemented", says asioso managing director Nico Rehmann