The aim of the Future IT Report of the University of Duisburg-Essen is to provide an overview of the strategic, organizational, process-related and cultural effects of digital transformation on companies in the German-speaking world. In the current survey, 44% of companies stated that digitization had improved their market position. In contrast, only just under 10% reported a deterioration in their market positon as a result of the digital transformation. A shift to new markets took place in just under 30% of those surveyed. In the digital age, companies do not necessarily have to go completely new ways, but can also secure their success by optimizing their business models in a targeted manner.


Adapting business models

Two thirds of the companies have already developed their existing business model on the basis of the digital transformation. 21% of those surveyed see digitization as a threat to their business model. They are of the opinion that they will not be able to sustain their market position without optimizing their existing business model or without a completely new business model. 13% state that digital transformation has no influence on their existing business model.


In terms of the goals that companies are pursuing with digitalization, the most important ones are greater efficiency through process automation (86%), higher customer satisfaction (85%), and improved quality (83%). Time savings (79%) and the development of new or improved digital products and services (77%) are also relevant factors.


However, companies have not yet achieved most of the goals of digital transformation. The gap between target and actual is particularly large for the goals of increasing customer satisfaction, increasing sales and saving time. For example, customer satisfaction can only increase if digitization is also applied at the interface to the customer. This currently still too seldom the case and offers great potential for many companies.


“Digitization has arrived at the companies”

The survey for the Future IT Report involved 182 employees of large and medium-sized companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland across a broad spectrum of industries. “The results of the study show (...) that the topic of digitization has now reached all companies. But they also show that many companies are not yet close enough to their customers to develop digital solutions that fit them perfectly. Added to this are the continuing challenges of culture and competence,” says Prof. Dr. Frederik Ahlemann, holder of the Chair for Business Information Technology and Strategic IT Management at the University of Duisburg-Essen.


Conclusion: positive development despite obstacles

In summary, the Future IT Report comes to the following conclusions: Digitization is in full swing in Germany and companies are basically positive about the future. However, one fifth of those surveyed see a strong threat to the current business model. Nearly all companies are actively working on implementing digital change and have anchored it strategically. In doing so, they are encountering a number of hurdles: The corporate culture and fear of innovation sometimes slow down the process. In addition, more than half of the companies lack the skilled workers needed to implement digitization.

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