A recent Bitkom survey examined the extent to which the Corona pandemic has changed companies’ view of digitization. The result: the clear majority of companies are convinced that they benefit from digitization. Only 12% of respondents doubt that their company will derive any economic benefit from digitization. A year earlier, at the start of the pandemic, the proportion of skeptics was more than twice as high (27%), and two years ago it was as high as 34%. Almost two-thirds of companies say that digital technologies are helping them to better manage the side effects and consequences of the pandemic. In 95% of companies, the digitization of business processes has become more important as a result of the Corona pandemic.
Accelerator and impediment in one
“Corona has led to a digitization push in people’s minds. Now we must succeed in driving digitization forward in practice as well,” says Bitkom president Achim Berg. “Those who set themselves up digitally will not only be better able to overcome times of crisis, but will also benefit from them in a post-lockdown period.” Paradoxically, the Corona pandemic seems to be both an accelerator and an impediment to digitization. While just under half of companies in the pandemic are putting overdue digitization projects into action, 52% have put their digitization projects on hold due to Corona.
Varying degrees of penetration of digital solutions
In terms of their penetration, there are significant differences in the various solutions that contribute to the digital office. For example, 93% of companies report that they have an ERP, CRM or ECM system in place. The proportion is significantly lower for digital solutions for digitizing documents (48%), for workflow management, for example for approval processes (44%), for an electronic archive and document management (41%) and for output management for generating documents (35%).
When it comes to invoicing, the Corona pandemic has brought change: for the first time, more digital invoices are being created than paper invoices. At one-third of companies, invoices are predominantly or exclusively electronic (2020: 24%); at 19%, invoicing is predominantly or exclusively paper-based (2020: 33%).
Digital communication on the rise
In times of home offices and contact reductions, digital communication is gaining in importance, as evidenced by the increasing use of messengers and collaboration tools. Two-thirds of companies frequently use messenger services for internal and external communications (up 16% year-on-year), while 45% use collaboration tools (up 9% year-on-year). Video conferencing has also become established and is used by 67% of companies.
Obstacles to digitization
A lack of employee knowledge is holding back digitization in companies. Only 56% of respondents say their company has enough qualified employees to implement the digitization of business and administrative processes. Other obstacles to digital transformation include a lack of standards (64%), excessive data protection requirements (63%), fear of unauthorized access to sensitive company data (61%) and excessive investment requirements (57%).