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Etventure collectAI digital

How German companies stand in the way of themselves in digital transformation

63 percent of executives from 2000 companies with a minimum turnover of 250 million euros say digital transformation is an opportunity, according to a recent survey by etventure. Surprisingly, only 22 percent of them see the GAFAs (Amazon, Google etc.) as a threat.

Digital transformation is no buzzword, but a relevant move for any business. However, self-perception and real challenges of digitisation differ from each other quite a lot. German companies are dangerously weighing themselves in safety. What is the current status and where are they heading?

The etventure study “Digital Transformation 2018” has been conducted by the market research institute GfK. It surveyed 18 percent of companies coming from the retail industry, 49 percent from the service industry and 32 percent from manufacturing.

Hurdles: 58 percent defend existing organisational structures

Less than even half of Germany’s businesses feel well prepared for digitisation. The top three hurdles for digital transformation consist of 58 percent employees, who defend existing organisational structures. Followed by 51 percent employees, who have a lack of experience in a user-centric approach. As well as blocking safety requirements, which were felt by 48 percent to be the biggest challenge.



Another dilemma is the definition of the terminology “digital transformation” itself. Whereas most of the surveyed people understand it, as the digitisation of existing business model and analogue processes. Only a minority see it as a radical development of new digital business.




Progress? 47 percent say they do not want to work with startups

A growing 61 percent don’t see that the rise of digitisation will cost their jobs. This is contrary to the assumption that digitisation is accompanied by the fear of employee dismantling. Also in comparison to the previous year, more companies want to cooperate with startups.But still it is a hefty 47 percent that say they won’t want to work with startups in the future.



Perspectives! 72 percent want to hire new experts for better digital know-how

The biggest competition is still felt with businesses in their own industry. Only 22% see a threat in tech companies like Amazon or Google. And only 7% see young startups as significant competitors. In our opinion, this might be a massive fault. Most of the surveyed managers agree, actions of digital transformation must start from the top c-level to the bottom in order to succeed change.

Overall it seems very important for the managers surveyed, that there must be a change of corporate culture in order to access development. Especially the attitude towards the customer must change, which also reflects our experience.

“Companies need to develop new digital business models that respond to technological change, as well as changing customer needs,”

CEO Philipp Depiereux, etventure.

Something that collectAI can identify with really well when working with clients in the area of digital transformation: A positive culture to fail is more common, however, traditional companies – medium and large sized – still don’t live up to it. In the end it always takes a certain amount of risk-taking to drive innovations.

The full survey is available on the etventure landing page. We published our take of the 2017 study where our CTO, Sebastian Hoop gave some guidance on how to get digital.