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Martina Weidmann

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Digitization Index for Businesses 2021/2022: German Companies focus on Security, Sustainability and New Work

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  • Deutsche Telekom study shows: German medium-sized businesses drive digital transformation.
  • Focus on IT security and data protection.
  • New Work and sustainability spur digitization.
Deutsche Telekom study: SMEs drive their digitalization further forward.

Deutsche Telekom study "Digitalization Index for SMEs 2021/2022": SMEs focus on Security, Sustainability, New Work and digital Collaboration.

In the second year of the pandemic, the digitization of medium-sized German businesses continued to pick up speed, as per the conclusion of the Deutsche Telekom study „Digitization Index for Medium-sized Businesses 2021/2022“ (German only): The digitization level of the companies surveyed had risen to an average of 59 out of 100 points in 2021. The businesses invested primarily in expanding their IT security and data protection. However, increasing interest in New Work and sustainability issues also drove the digital transformation of the companies. The sector comparison showed that industry and logistics continue to lead the field. Industry, retail, trade and construction each increased their index by one point.

The SME Digitalization Index rises to 59 out of 100 points.

DeutscheTelekom study "Digitalization Index for SMEs 2021/2022": The digitalization level of German companies continues to rise to 59 out of 100 points.

For the sixth time, Deutsche Telekom and analysts from techconsult surveyed more than 2,000 medium-sized companies in Germany on their degree of digitization. The study examined the effects of New Work - the new ways of working in the global and digital age for the first time. They asked what role climate protection and subsidies play for German businesses.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and global delivery delays hit mid-tier German companies hard in 2021," says Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director Business Customers Telekom Deutschland GmbH. "However, the companies surveyed are continuing to drive forward their digitization with a particular focus on New Work and sustainability which is positive news." 

New Work for more productivity

German companies are increasingly relying on mobile and digital collaboration: New Work has established itself as a fixed working model at just under half (49 percent) of the businesses surveyed. Home office and digital applications are correspondingly widespread: 57 percent use web and video conferencing. At 81 percent, digital communication technologies and tools are now part of everyday working life for the majority. They support internal communication, dialog with customers and thus productivity. This also applies to the future: around six out of ten companies want to use such a working model to recruit new employees in the long term. 

Digital security is a priority 

Cyber-attacks were rife in the German economy in 2020/2021. The shift to home office in particular exposed security gaps. That is why the respondents have been investing even more in cyber security. Employees of the companies surveyed will spend an average of eleven percent more working time in their home offices after the pandemic. However, only 43 percent consider their mobile workplaces to be sufficiently secure. In particular, businesses want to expand email security and encryption technologies for future security. The same applies to identity management and authentication solutions, because digital technologies increase the business resilience of companies in times of crisis.

Companies promote climate protection

As efforts are made to ensure long-term viability, awareness of climate-friendly business practices is also growing (71 percent). In response, companies are leveraging the potential of digitization. This ranges from low-resource production and sustainable suppliers to optimized route planning in logistics. Seven out of ten companies rely on online instead of face-to-face events. 29 percent are reducing business trips and commuter traffic.

Willingness to invest remains high

93 percent of the companies surveyed want to continue investing in digital projects in the future. 45 percent of these are even planning an average increase of 24 percent. The digitization budgets will primarily benefit technologies for digital collaboration and security solutions in the company. 69 percent also want to expand communication with customers via digital channels.

Subsidies hardly used

The study also shows that medium-sized companies have not yet exhausted the possibilities of digitization. Innovative solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or artificial intelligence (AI) have so far only been used by a minority. Public funding programs could increase the use of technical innovations. The individual pots provide up to six-figure funding sums for digital transformation. However, only 18 percent call on these funds for their projects due to lack of transparency and bureaucratic hurdles. This can also be observed among the companies that use such funding: Around six out of ten companies had to seek external support. This was the only way to find and apply for the right program.

In the coming weeks, individual reports on industry, logistics, retail, construction, hospitality and trade sectors will be published.

About the survey

The “Digitization Index 2021/2022” explores the degree of digitization of more than 2,000 SMEs in Germany. The fields of action analyzed: relationship with customers, productivity in the company, digital business models, and IT security and data protection. The maximum possible index value is 100 points across all criteria. The survey ran from August to September 2021. All the results of the overall study and the individual sector reports can be read free of charge here: Digital X Digitization Index 2021/2022 (German only).

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom Group profile

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