Digital transformation at the top of the agenda – etventure’s survey of Germany in the media
14. March 2016
The CeBIT in Hanover starts today. The focus of this year’s trade fair is the digital transformation of the economy and of society. In the run-up to the event, etventure published a pioneering survey about digitization in German companies, with the support of the market research institute GfK. As evidenced by the high level of interest that has been shown in the survey’s findings, both on the part of the media and from the areas of industry, science and politics, the topic is now one of great public importance. Here is an overview of the media coverage on the survey of Germany.
Internal trench warfare and digitally sluggish bosses
“Internal trench warfare is halting progress,” states the title of the Wirtschaftswoche magazine article about etventure’s survey, highlighting one of the significant obstacles that companies face when it comes to digitization. It explains that there are two reasons why companies often fail when it comes to digital transformation: “The first reason is that digitization only really attracts managerial involvement in just under half of all cases. In the other 52 percent of cases, the job is left to the IT or marketing department, or to another division. Yet this issue is about modernizing the core business, not about a new piece of accounting software or a new marketing campaign.” […] “But this is not the biggest problem. By far the greatest hindrance to digital transformation is internal resistance.”
The article quotes Philipp Depiereux, Founder and Managing Director of etventure, who explains that digitization should therefore be set free from existing structures, “in order to create freedom for fresh thinking and to facilitate the rapid development of digital business models.” The Wirtschaftswoche summarizes this neatly: “Companies need to rid themselves of one thing: The desire for perfection and absolute security. This transformation will not be easy and there will be setbacks. But those who wait around to see what their competitors will do so that they can then adapt and improve their system – those companies will disappear from the market before they can say ‘digitization.’”
“Digital transformation may well be an attractive conference topic but it is a topic that has not yet fully hit home with the top-level management of companies,” states Michael Reidel, Editor of the Horizont website. Digitization is indeed a topic that is on people’s lips across every sector. “This makes it all the more astonishing that only six percent of Germany’s large businesses rank digital transformation as their most important topic.” A strategic error: “In Depiereux’s opinion, in order to be able to offer some opposition to the likes of Google, every top-level decision-maker should be engaging with the topic. In reality, the opposite is true.”
The online magazine Gründerszene is even clearer. “Bosses at German corporations are digitally sluggish,” states the headline for the article on this leading magazine for entrepreneurs and startups. “How important is digitization to large businesses in Germany? ‘Not very,’ is the horrifying – if not entirely surprising – answer provided by a recent survey,” writes Georg Räth, Editor of Gründerszene. He said that the findings of the etventure survey corresponded with his own perspective on the industry. Acknowledging that it is hardly possible to “maintain an overview of the abundance of incubators, accelerators and participation programs” that have now been initiated by German companies, Räth made the following comment: “These initiatives often act as foreign bodies and there is a lack of real commitment on the part of the corporate managerial staff, meaning that the desired changes quickly fall flat.”
The survey of Germany undertaken by etventure was also mentioned in articles in the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper (“Indecisive about digitization”), the t3n magazine (“Digital, no thanks”), the Markenartikel Magazin (“Lack of top-management resolve cripples digitization”) and on haufe.de (“The scope of digital transformation has not yet been recognized”). Dr. Holger Schmidt, Chief Correspondent for Digital Economy at FOCUS magazine also wrote about the study on his Internet economy blog called Netzökonom. In the blog he writes the following: “In 2016, the topic of digital transformation should really have hit home in the top-level management of every company. […] But it seems that this is still not the case. Three out of five large companies are not making a serious attempt to tackle digital transformation, according to a recent GfK survey commissioned by etventure, which interviewed 2,000 large companies in Germany.”
Looking to the future with optimism
The newspaper Die Zeit prefers to focus on the study’s positive findings. It writes: “When it comes to digitization, the German economy is cautiously optimistic: 23 percent of the large companies surveyed believe that new technology will enable them to create more jobs than they will cut and only 18 percent expect there to be an overall cut in jobs.“
Even the tabloid paper BILD deemed this finding to be newsworthy: “Corporations expect new digital jobs,” writes Germany’s largest tabloid. It highlights the following: “The more that companies judged themselves to be better prepared for digitization, the higher their expectation for an overall increase in jobs.”
The more detailed findings of the survey of Germany entitled “Digital Transformation and Collaborating with Startups in Large Companies” can also be requested as an e-paper from the dedicated webpage (in German).