A recent survey by digital association Bitkom has found that German companies are rather reluctant to use new technologies. This applies in particular to the use of AI, 3D printers, blockchain and robotics as well. In addition to data protection and security requirements, the shortage of skilled workers is a major obstacle when it comes to the introduction of new technologies.
Author: Martin Krill, Managing Partner, Hager
"If companies hesitated in introducing new technologies, they may have been less efficient and more expensive than their competitors. Today, a new technology such as artificial intelligence or blockchain can completely revolutionise an entire industry in record time," said Bitkom president, Achim Berg. "Businesses should not introduce new technologies as an end in themselves, but they are well advised to look at their opportunities and explore chances for their own business model - or for completely new business models."
The current trend of digitisation can give the German economy an enormous burst of growth. Machines and programmes can replace not only assembly-line work but also routine tasks of knowledge workers. Many workflows can be made more efficient, and employees can concentrate more on tasks with a higher added value.
"Given the current full order books, it is understandable when companies say that they have no time for new technologies. However, such an approach is not smart," said Berg. "Nobody who wants to do business tomorrow can afford to do without future technologies."
The use of new technologies brings not only new business models but also an enormous shift in the labour market. The demand for jobs due to technology has been steadily increasing over the past twenty years. Companies should not be scared of the partially 'supposedly unknown' or even rest on filled order books.
They should focus on the current trend, invest in new technologies and demonstrate innovation in recruiting suitable professionals and executives. The often highly sought-after candidates who are needed for digital innovations do their own personal 'cherry picking' in the tight labour market. The desired employers select them by market position, workplace, leadership culture and also innovative power of the supposedly future employer.
It is important to remain flexible and open-minded towards new technologies and to master the balancing act between ongoing business and innovation. The fact that German companies are world champions (in exporting) has been demonstrated many times in the analogue business, but the business of tomorrow is predominantly digital. The same applies to the digital jobs; good people go where they find interesting challenges and the latest technologies.