CDO Insights: Opportunities and hurdles of digitisation faced by German companies

diva-e survey of Chief Digital Officers (CDOs)

Large corporations in particular are strengthening their management team by appointing a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), as digitisation has been identified as one of the most significant corporate goals to maintain long-term competitiveness, attracting a lot of investment. diva-e, Germany's leading transactional experience partner (TXP), highlights the first success stories of this trend and the opportunities and hurdles of digitisation faced by German companies in its new 'CDO Insights' survey. Interviews were conducting with members of the CDO Executive Circle, comprising of around 40 per cent of all German CDOs, responsible for digitisation in companies with more than 1,000 employees.

According to 72 per cent of the respondents, the main task of the CDO is to formulate a clear, overarching digital strategy for the company. More than two-thirds of the respondents have already achieved this. But in 28 per cent of German companies, digital transformation is currently less structured, as an overall digital strategy does not yet exist.

To achieve their goals, about 40 per cent of CDOs have an annual budget of €1 million to €10 million, and another 32 per cent are responsible for more than €10 million. The fact that around half of the respondents' budgets rose by around 10 per cent year on year is testament to the relevance of digital projects in the eyes of corporate management.

CDO Insights: Opportunities and hurdles of digitisation faced by German companies

Challenges of digitisation for companies

Despite developing digital strategies and a greater willingness to invest, the survey also highlights the challenges of digitisation faced by German companies. 71 per cent of CDOs see employee and management's lack of digital skills as a barrier to the rapid advancement of digitisation. Around two-thirds of the respondents still consider current corporate structures to be too rigid. 61 per cent are hindered by a rushed mentality: they feel too many digital projects are launched at the same time or too many priorities compete with each other.

Top digitisation trends in the automotive, retail & consumer goods and manufacturing sectors

The 'CDO Insights' survey shows that major digitisation trends differ from industry to industry. They are very specific in the automotive sector, with companies focusing on autonomous driving and smart cars. Here, data and data analysis only comes in at third place whereas it has top priority for manufacturing. B2C, such as retail and consumer goods, also focuses more on digital distribution and digital marketing. Although the Internet of Things is recognised as the biggest trend across sectors, it is not a priority for any of the CDOs' companies in 2019.

Digitisation offers the opportunity to improve product and service quality

The CDOs particularly see new opportunities in the areas of customer contact and relationships, both of which will become more direct and individual and will ultimately result in more customer satisfaction. Improvement and innovation at the product and service level are further promising areas, according to the CDOs. To date, most CDOs have improved recruitment and internal networking. Projects to strengthen the brand and individual customer contact are mostly well advanced.