Companies in Germany fear they are losing out to international competitors when it comes to digitization. In a recent survey by the digital association Bitkom, 60% of the companies surveyed see competitors ahead that were early adopters of digitization. While only around one-third consider themselves pioneers in digitization, just under two-thirds consider their own company to be a laggard.



Realize new ideas and business models by using innovative technologies

Shape your digital transformation now



Digital technologies bring competitive advantages

87% of companies are convinced that the use of digital technologies plays a decisive role in the competitiveness of the German economy. At the same time, 76% believe that German companies use digital technologies too little. This disparity between general importance and own use is particularly evident when it comes to the topic of artificial intelligence (AI): although 72% assume that artificial intelligence is of great importance for the future competitiveness of the German economy, only 15% use AI in their own companies. “Companies have recognized the importance of digitization for their own future,” says new Bitkom President Dr. Ralf Wintergerst. “However, they apparently do not know how to approach digitization.”


For 49%, it is clear that companies that use AI at an early stage gain a competitive advantage as a result, while 44% do not share this opinion. As far as the concrete benefits of artificial intelligence are concerned, the survey primarily mentions cost savings (45%), partially overcoming the shortage of skilled workers (41%) and the development of new business models (26%). 16% of companies believe that AI will never be relevant to them.


Companies still make little use of digital technologies

In addition to artificial intelligence, other digital technologies also contribute to the competitiveness of companies. These include data analytics and Big Data (92%), robotics (86%) and the Internet of Things (84%). It is surprising that for all the technologies mentioned – as with artificial intelligence – there is a large gap between the rating of their general importance for competitiveness and the frequency of their use in the company, which is always significantly lower. This is also matched by the fact that in 46% of companies, the risks of digital technologies are discussed more than their opportunities.


One third with a company-wide digital strategy

According to the Bitkom study, 32% of companies have a company-wide digital strategy. In 55% of the companies, there is a digital strategy in at least one or more divisions. 11% have not yet pursued any digital strategy at all. As far as spending on digitization is concerned, 53% of respondents say they will invest more in their own digitization than in the previous year. 30% intend to keep investments constant and 16% plan to cut back.


What stands in the way of digitization

Companies cite data protection (77%), a shortage of skilled workers (64%), and IT security requirements, lack of time and lack of financial resources (54% each) as the biggest obstacles to digitization. “The past few years have shown how quickly we can act in Germany when a crisis demands it,” says Ralf Wintergerst. “We can do speed, and now we want to show that this also applies to digitization.”


Realize new ideas and business models by using innovative technologies

Shape your digital transformation now


Further articles of interest: