Pandemic dispels doubts about digitization

In 2020, many companies gave up their reservations about digital solutions.
Electronic invoices, in particular, are on the rise.

The number of digital skeptics in companies is falling.

Dhe corona pandemic has almost completely made concerns about digitization disappear in the German economy. A good year after the first lockdown, only 12 percent of all companies with 20 or more employees still doubt the benefits of digitization for their company. That is the central result of a representative survey of more than 500 companies from all industries on behalf of the digital association Bitkom, which was presented on Wednesday.

At the beginning of the pandemic, 27 percent said the benefits were unclear to them. In 2019, the rate of digital skeptics was even 34 percent. Now two-thirds (64 percent) say digital technologies are helping the company cope with the pandemic.

The change in mood can also be seen in specific applications. For the first time, in a company survey by Bitkom, digital invoices were in front of the paper receipts. Accordingly, 31 percent submit electronic invoices, 19 percent only on paper. 47 percent use both routes.

A lack of standards and data protection are hurdles

However, when it comes to comprehensive digitization, many companies are still at the beginning: Only 48 percent use solutions for the digitization of documents, 44 percent use workflow management, for example for approval processes, and 41 percent use electronic archive and document management. And the old fax machine has not yet disappeared in many offices. It can still be found in 43 percent of companies. A year ago this value was 49 percent.

The companies see the greatest hurdles for digitization in the lack of standards (64 percent) and excessive data protection requirements (63 percent). 61 percent fear unauthorized access to sensitive company data. There is also a lack of money. 57 percent complain that the investment required is too high, 55 percent do not have the time.

Bitkom President Achim Berg said that due to the uncertainties in the pandemic, many companies actually had difficulties making the necessary investments. But the expressed lack of time amazes him. “Companies should take the time to shape the future.”