SMEs: What is the level of digitization of SMEs and Italian SMEs?
What is the level of digitization of Italian SMEs compared to the rest of Europe? How to improve our productivity and increase profit? How to save time by increasing accuracy and efficiency? Is the lack of investment in software technologies really the result of a purely economic question?
The digitization process is seen by Italian SMEs as a hostile and complicated terrain and it is not understood at this moment how advantageous it could be. With the advent of Covid-19, companies have had to clash with the ancient mistrust of innovation, when instead it would have been necessary to take this opportunity to keep up with the times and be competitive on the global market.
This is because SMEs are the backbone of the Italian economy. According to Istat data relating to the new permanent census of companies (to view the document go to www.istat.it ), they are about 20% of total companies and produce almost 41% of absolute turnover (to find out more Economic results of companies ) of Italian companies.
Referring to the DESI index ( Digital Economy and Society Index ), an index that tracks the digital performance of European countries and their progress, we can observe how Italy occupies the last places in the ranking and how it is far below of the European average after countries such as Cyprus, Poland, Slovakia and just above Romania.
Going specifically to the use of digital technologies in the business environment, we see that Italian companies occupy one of the last places. In fact, our SMEs use technology very little, and production processes are not digitized, leading Italy to position itself below Cyprus and Slovakia and just above Spain, Hungary and Bulgaria.
On the other hand, looking directly at the data from our home, the Istat report on SMEs and ICT (for further information click HERE ) informs us that the incidence of ICT specialists among its employees is 12.6% and companies that have provided training on ICT skills are only 15.5%.
Desolating, then, is to see how 80% of companies have not yet embarked on a path towards the digitization of processes, an aspect that is essential to investigate, especially in a historical moment like the present one in which only companies that are investing in technology can aim to remain competitive in the globalized market.
What benefits can digitization bring?
A report published in December 2020 by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises in Italy analyzes the reasons for the gaps affecting this area. The most evident ones are due to the limited digital skills and the lack of awareness of how these can be exploited to one’s advantage (for a better understanding click HERE ).
Furthermore, although our entrepreneurial fabric is very dense, the productivity of Italian companies is below that of Germany and France. What emerges from these data is that little digitization and lower productivity are closely linked.
But what prevents companies from taking this path?
The analysis of the EIB continues by providing a detailed overview of the obstacles slowing the digital transformation. It is demeaning to know that as many as 18% of Italian companies have no plans for investments in the digital field in the coming years.
And that only 31% are planning investments for the replacement of machinery, buildings and IT compared to the European average of 37%. However, one of the biggest obstacles is the availability of bank credit, interest rates are high and negotiation with banks is often difficult. This is why the digitization of SMEs is one of the most important objectives of the Italian government.
These are not the only causes that slow down the technological development of SMEs.
In fact, our experience in the digitization sector suggests a contributing cause that, due to the nature of the proposed analyzes (i.e. the monitoring of companies that have never adopted technological solutions), is not mentioned: the lack of trust in software houses and therefore in software systems.
sold. Yes, in these lines the scenario that is revealed seems to highlight two major problems, the lack of funds and the intrinsic desire of the entrepreneur not to invest. This consideration does not apply to all SMEs, in fact many companies have started their path towards digitization with strength and enthusiasm for some time .
Some of these, however, did not obtain the solution they were looking for and ended up not using digital tools at all or using them only for a few activities , certainly not those they had thought they could manage at the time of the investment.
This happens for two main reasons, the software chosen was too vertical and not very flexible or, although the solutions were made to measure, they continued to be difficult to use and in the vast majority of cases impossible to modify independently, forcing the company to contact assistance with related additional costs.
Regardless of the cause, the right solution to optimize your processes by digitizing them is QualiWare. This is because it is part of the facilitated purchases of the PNRR but also because none of our customers found themselves disheartened as in the cases of the entrepreneurs written above. This because:
the extreme flexibility of QualiWare allows to create of systems tailored to the needs of the company ;
thanks to the ease of use of the Form Designer, activities such as creating and editing forms can be performed in total autonomy even by a user without specific IT skills.
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