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Digital transformation: How mature are Swiss SMEs?

Most SMEs are focusing on the digitisation of their internal processes. The change is largely driven by individuals. Digital champions are making this transformation a priority of senior management. They are bold and they are adapting their entire business strategy to the digital age. These are the results of a study by PwC Switzerland, Google Switzerland GmbH and «digitalswitzerland».
A woman stands in front of a big touchscreen.
Digitization is a big chance for SMEs.

The level of digitisation at Swiss SMEs varies. The bigger the company and the younger the senior management, the more a company has done to embrace the digital age. It also depends on the industry: companies in the telecommunications and media sectors are – not surprisingly – leaders in the area of digitisation. 80 percent of the study respondents expect that the market will undergo a fundamental change in the next five years due to digitisation. These are the results of the survey of 300 Swiss SMEs.

Digital, but not everywhere

The companies that took part in the study are focusing on the digitisation of internal processes as well as on websites and e-commerce solutions. Clients and their experience are seldom the point of focus. Only 42 percent of the SMEs surveyed include clients in their business processes. Companies that have embraced the digital transition believe that the financial commitment was worth it.

Prioritise digitisation in senior management

"The success stories coming out of Swiss companies show that digitisation fundamentally changes a company. It's a topic that should be on the agenda of the managing director, CEO and members of the board," said Patrick Warnking, Country Director of Google Switzerland. "Human resources are a major factor in the success of digitisation. You need people who can make your plan come alive every day," added Holger Greif, Leader Digital Transformation at PwC Switzerland.

A plan for champions

Based on findings from the study, Norbert Kühnis, Leader Family Businesses and SMEs, PwC Switzerland, recommends that business leaders be bold and take a careful look at their market: "It often takes a courageous decision for a successful major step. I recommend that Swiss SMEs observe the market and look at digital possibilities as opportunities. A champion uses digitisation to expand their relationship with clients and to doggedly go after client needs."

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