Jun 21 2018

The German economy and digitalisation

Growing numbers of companies are responding to the change in market conditions that digitalisation is causing by adopting a digital strategy. But the majority are failing to invest in new business models. Why? They lack resources such as time and money. This is one of the findings of a representative survey conducted by the German digital association Bitkom that surveyed more than 600 companies with more than 20 employees.

Digitalisation must not fail due to a lack of resources

“Many companies, especially medium-sized enterprises, have full order books at the moment and are doing good business with their established products,” says Bitkom President Achim Berg. “But tomorrow’s business is exclusively digital.”

Berg therefore urges companies to start preparing for tomorrow’s business today, while the economy is booming. He adds: “No one who is responsible for a company can seriously claim: we don’t have any money or time for the future.”

The majority are open to digitalisation

According to Bitkom, there is widespread openness towards digitalisation in the German economy. Nine out of ten companies (89 per cent) see the digital transformation as an opportunity for their business. Just eight per cent view digitalisation primarily as a risk. Within industry in particular, the vast majority (99 per cent) are optimistic about the outlook for success in a digitalised world.

In addition, compared to the previous year, more companies are following a digital strategy. Just 68 per cent of respondents last year said that they had a digital strategy in place in parts of their company or across their organisation. This figure now stands at 78 per cent. Looking at the results in more detail, 43 per cent have a central digital strategy, while 35 per cent have strategies in individual areas of their company.

Companies are reacting to changing market conditions

As digital strategies become more established, companies are beginning to react to the change in market conditions. In response to digitalisation:

  • 37 per cent are withdrawing products and services from the market

  • 63 per cent are adapting existing products and services

  • 48 per cent are introducing new products and services

The importance of digital platforms is growing

One in two companies (49 per cent) said that they had heard of digital platforms. These platforms have completely transformed whole industries.

With ambista, the B2B network for the global interiors business, Koelnmesse has offered year-round, direct access to relevant products, contacts, skills and events for some time. Around 6,000 companies now have profiles on the content-driven platform. They include furniture manufacturers and retailers, suppliers and interior architects.

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