Not even the Covid19 pandemics is helping to accelerate the digitization process in Austria. The majority of companies also expects that the innovations won't last.
The fifth Austrian digitization Index, which Strategy Consultant Arthur D. Little (ADL Austria) and Marketmind collected on behalf of Drei, revealed that a fourth of Austrian companies see no benefit from digitization. Data was collected with 805 companies across Austria between mid-April and mid-May with telephone interviews to find out the opinions of telecom decision-makers as well as co-decision-makers. These were chosen to reflect company size, industry, and region.
The Covid19 pandemic brought digital innovations to many areas. These innovations include new methods of customer acquisition, more processes without personal contact, and more people working in a home officesetting. However, only 41% of companies surveyed think that digital transformation will continue into the future.
In this context, there is significant gap between large and small companies. Only 36 percent of one-person businesses believe that the digital transformation is here to stay. For companies with fewer than ten workers, the number 45 percent. Larger companies with over 100 employees believe with 72 percent that digital transformation is here to stay.
Large companies are pushing home office
This attitude is reflected by the stance towards home office. While the percentage of large companies offering home office jobs has increased by six percentage points to 81% in one year, it has fallen to only 38% for Austria overall. This is contrast to Germany, where politics is currently discussing the possibility of a a right to work remotely.
Austrian companies are also adapting their office situation. The number of companies who have moved from permanently assigned desks to flexibly allocating jobs has doubled from 4 to 9 percent.
On the other hand, small and medium-sized Austrian businesses felt the need to return to the office at the end the corona lockdowns. Working together can be very helpful for certain creative processes as well as to improve the corporate culture. However, trusting your employees more would be a benefit. It is crucial to monitor the progress of their employees' work, rather than merely checking the results.
56% cannot name advantages of the digital transformation
The survey also examined operational processes, procurement, information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as the digitization and modernization of customer relationships, jobs, products, and services. Austrian companies investing in digital transformation expect to save 45% on their financial costs and acquire new customers (42% in gastronomy and accommodation).
There are also hopes for greater agility and flexibility, customer loyalty, and new income sources. However, 25% of respondents said they didn't see any digital opportunities. This is especially true for farmers and foresters in mining and the energy, water, and waste sectors.
56 percent of companies that have invested in digitization cannot also state the competitive advantages they have. Three percent claimed they have no competitive advantage and two percent did not see any difference in the competition.
Willingness to invest increases significantly
One third of respondents have invested in digitization to increase sustainability and according to 73 percent, digitization is good for sustainability: this means more efficient processes, better communication, and saving resources like paper and energy. But at the same time, 27% believe that digitization is detrimental to sustainability. This is especially true for smaller and less digitized companies.
24 percent of Austrian companies intend to invest in online presence and mobile data access, online conferences, IT security, accounting software, and/or outsourcing IT applications within the next 12 months. The number is not high, but a significant increase over 18% a year ago.
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