The corona pandemic has triggered a sustained push towards digitization in German companies. About one in two people (49%) say that Corona has accelerated the digitization of their business model. This is one of the most important findings of a representative survey of 1,102 companies with 20 or more employees from all economic sectors on behalf of the digital association Bitkom.
Corona has accelerated the digitization of business processes in 44% of companies (2020: 18%). 6 out of 10 companies (60%) are convinced that digital technologies have helped to deal with the pandemic. A narrow majority (53%) point out that Corona has triggered a drive for innovation in their company. And 4 out of 5 companies (83%) now have a digital strategy, up from just 74% two years ago.
A further increase in investments in the digitization of offices and administrative processes is expected in the current year. 29% of companies want to invest more this year than in 2021, only 14% plan to reduce their investments. The majority (53%) leave the expenditure unchanged. “Digitalization makes companies crisis-proof. This awareness has prevailed in the German economy as a result of the corona pandemic. Companies have recognized that digital transformation is not free,” says Bitkom President Achim Berg. “Corona was obviously the impetus for many digitization measures that were late, the digitization drive triggered by Corona is gaining momentum.”
Money, security, skilled workers: the biggest obstacles to digitalisation
The biggest obstacles to digitization are still the need for investments that are perceived as too high (73 percent), the fear of unauthorized access to data (65 percent) and insufficiently qualified personnel (64 percent). Additionally, about one in two companies mention lack of time (55%), fear of data loss (54%) and lack of standards (53%). Legal and regulatory provisions (52%), excessive data protection requirements (51%) and IT security (51%).
Resistance within the company (41 percent) and lack of external advice (33 percent) are mentioned less frequently. There is hardly any doubt about the economic benefits of digitalisation. While this was still unclear to 34% of companies in 2018 and 27% two years ago, it is now only 19%. “The last doubts about the need for digitization have been dispelled. However, digitization is not a guaranteed success, it requires effort and resources. Companies now need to focus on removing existing barriers,” Berg points out.