Digital disruption
SMEs are coming under pressure to digitise

The reluctance of SMEs to take steps towards digitisation has often been lamented. Now the warnings are becoming even more insistent.

The digital transition promises to profoundly revolutionise production processes and business models. According to Deloitte Digital, if this causes relations with suppliers and customers to be readjusted, the German economy will be under pressure. The consulting firm recently produced numbers that underscore to what extent many SMEs lag behind in digitisation or simply fail to realise its importance. Experts point out that this could soon have dire consequences. Their advice is for SMEs is to hurry up if they want to avoid missing the boat.

Examples such as the accommodation agency AirBnB or the transport service provider Uber make it clear that markets are currently undergoing a very rapid transformation. Just when a company is feeling well positioned and secure in its niche, new competition suddenly appears on the market. “And it often comes from very unexpected places,” says Nikolay Kolev, partner of Deloitte Digital. Maximilian Hille from the IT consulting firm Crisp Research adds: “Digitisation is not going to spare any industry.” The President of the Association of SMEs, Mario Ohoven, warns as well: “About a fifth of smaller and medium-sized enterprises in Germany has no Internet presence whatsoever, nor are they active in social networks. Six out of ten medium-sized retailers do not have an online shop. This could take its toll when comes to international competition. Only the entrepreneurs that deal with the digital challenge early on and embrace it as an opportunity will have a chance to survive on the market in the long run.” (Source: Deloitte Digital/uj)