Digitalization in medium-sized businesses

Tuesday, 9. March 2021 | 0 Comments
There is nothing that’s keeping German businesses as busy as digitalization. Both in actively planning, but also regarding competitors on the market. Whoever works remotely has an advantage since the corona-pandemic. While your customers are primarily focused on digital shopping and services, logistics, accounting, and administration face challenges that can only be overcome with a true roadmap to digitization.

Germany is catching up with digitalization – too slow?

Mittelstand 4.0 is the name of the German government’s program to guide SMEs into the future and familiarize them with digitalization. The model is created to provide German companies with expert advice to help them catch up with the competition in European and international competition. In many sectors, this is already working. Agriculture is one of the industries already benefiting from digital management, planning, automation, and working with the latest technologies. But even in logistics, which is directly connected to producers, the tools for digital collaboration are often still missing.

Around 50% of German companies worked digitally according to the DESI-Index 2019.This puts Germany in the European midfield. Globally, the numbers don’t look any better. Companies are still setting goals that can be linked to digitalization without taking all factors into account. However, this can be an advantage for your own company, because those who take on a pioneering role now may be able to expand more quickly and do international business.

These areas are affected by the digitalization in medium-sized businesses

What is the actual meaning of digitizing company processes and offerings? To find out, you should conduct an in-depth assessment of your company. It’s the first step toward a roadmap that spans several years and gradually integrates digital tools into everyday work. Just as you don’t start with the light bulbs on your desk when it comes to sustainability, but rather with waste avoidance and energy supply, for example, you also need to analyze the framework conditions when it comes to digitization.

A major complex in small and medium-sized businesses is record keeping and bookkeeping. Thanks to GoBD, this is also where the biggest hurdles lie when it comes to the proper and orderly filing of the customer and financial data, digital collaboration in documents, and the storage of originals. Communication itself within the company and with third parties is also subject to data protection requirements that you as an entrepreneur must meet. You also need professional support when it comes to integrating digital processes into the value chain, for example by automating warehouses, logistics, and production lines. The digital presence on the web, e-commerce, and online support must also not disappear from view. A simple website with opening hours and without a connection to Google MyBusiness and social media is no longer up to date.

Simplify accounting and administration

The paperless office is already a reality in many companies and one of the areas where the challenges of digitization remain manageable, even for small businesses. Of course, there are many factors to consider for correct accounting, ordering of receipts, and storage of correspondence in German and European law. But a service like GetMyInvoices simplifies record keeping enormously. The software imports invoices and documents via thousands of interfaces to popular services record the totals and data and categorize the receipts. This helps simplify the workflow around supply chain communications.

Automated invoice management is a real-time and resource saver for SMBs, eliminating entire full-time positions that can instead be invested in developing and producing your brand and products. Incoming and outgoing invoices are often overlooked when it comes to digitization, as the item initially appears unremarkable. However, as with all areas that can be automated, the work time adds up and often costs SMEs in particular the potential growth of their business. GetMyInvoices can be set up internally with just a few clicks and used jointly in teams in compliance with data protection and tax regulations.

 

The right digitalization roadmap for your company

The digital transformation succeeds best when it is planned and implemented step by step without excluding areas of the company. The consulting services of the Mittelstand 4.0 program can create important competencies and, like BMWi’s go-digital funding, can be applied for relatively easily. The digitization roadmap that you draw up with your team of consultants should be set over a realistic period and with a sensible budget. The benefits outweigh the costs: Once you have digitized all processes, you save working materials, time resources, and a lot of nerves.’

Since March 2020, it has become apparent that most companies can create digital offerings in an emergency if they want to. It is better to actively pursue these opportunities yourself to be prepared for any eventuality and keep pace with leading companies. This way, investing in accounting software, invoice automation, or training even for older employees becomes a shared project instead of a mandatory event. Your customers will appreciate it because in most cases digital is also more environmentally friendly, inclusive, and socially just. Fewer raw materials and cheap labor are needed, and access to information and services is made possible regardless of location and fully adjustable on all output devices.

 

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