Business Process Digitization of SME in the Manufacturing Sector

This study empirically examines the degree to which companies digitized their business processes. The investigation is based on a representative sample covering 1,400 firms in the manufacturing sector in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, and Baden-Wuerttemberg. We show that firms realize a relatively high degree of digitization. This is mainly driven by medium- and large-sized companies, indicating that small businesses are lagging behind. Despite their low degree of digitization, small companies overestimate their objective degree of digitization. Digitization is mainly motivated by cutting costs, while revenue creating activities remain largely uncovered: Only a minority of companies is engaged in the implementation of data based business models or the production of smart products. In contrast, firms engaging in innovation activities and pursuing a digital strategy are more likely to realize a high degree of digitization. The main obstacle for firms to digitize their business processes is due to organizational problems.

Icks, A.; Schröder, C.; Brink, S.; Dienes, C.; Schneck, S. (2017): Digitalisierungsprozesse von KMU im Produzierenden Gewerbe, IfM Bonn: IfM-Materialien Nr. 255, Bonn.

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