Digitisation Projects: Market Trends More Important Than Customer Wishes

Digitisation Projects: Market Trends More Important Than Customer Wishes

Market trends are an important basis for B2B companies to decide on new digitization projects.

According to a study by ECC COLOGNE, 62 percent of B2B decision-makers intend to invest more in digitization projects despite or precisely because of the ongoing crises. Overall, for half of the B2B companies surveyed, the investment budget for digitization and IT projects in 2023 has increased by up to 10 percent compared to the previous year. In contrast, 36 percent of smaller companies with fewer than 500 employees are currently planning to reduce or postpone investments. Instead, logistics and production processes in particular are being driven forward.

In the decision-making process for new IT and digitization projects, half of the wholesalers and manufacturers surveyed rely on new market developments and trends, followed by the developments of their competitors and the requirements of suppliers. Explicit customer requirements, on the other hand, are an important decision-making factor for only 37 percent.

No holistic view of data

Data also plays an important role in the decision-making process for the B2B companies surveyed. However, only very few of them take a holistic view of the data: Four out of ten B2B companies rely exclusively on internal data and, in this context, primarily consider sales/revenue figures and profit margins. 34 percent of respondents state that they only use external data such as market figures or data from projects.

“Very few B2B companies draw on different data sources and link them together in a meaningful way. Instead, the focus is often placed on a pure profit-loss statement, from which no goal-oriented analysis and (digitization) strategy can emerge,” says Mailin Schmelter, Managing Director of ECC NEXT.

Project aborts due to staff shortages and service provider problems

However, there is still room for improvement when it comes to implementation, as the drop-out rate of projects started over the past five years is high. Eight out of ten respondents state that they have aborted digitization projects that they started during this period – in most cases several times. On average, around 13 percent of the projects initiated were put on hold. The main reason cited for discontinuation was a lack of personnel (33%), closely followed by problems with service providers (29%).

Seven out of ten respondents have already changed service providers once during an ongoing project because services were not provided. However, implementation without external support is generally not an option due to a lack of internal resources. For 76 percent of respondents, the digitization projects initiated in the past five years have not been fully worthwhile, and six percent of them regret the investments made.