Digitalizationinnovation managementProject Management

What SME can Learn From the New Capgemini IT Trends Study

Capgemini recently published the results of their newest study: Studie IT-Trends 2018 [in German]. For this study, they interviewed 121 CIOs (or people at a similar level) from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The majority of the participants’ companies have an annual revenue of at least 500 million euros.

 

According to the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn, a company is considered an SME if it doesn’t have more than 249 employees and an annual revenue of 50 million euros at most or a balance sheet total of 43 million euros at most.

 

The results of the Capgemini IT trends study are therefore not representative for SME. That however doesn’t mean that SME cannot learn from this study.

 

My opinion about specific findings from this study and what SME can learn from them are shown below.

 

IT Budgets

Expenses in the IT area have steadily increased. And the participating CIOs continue to see an upward trend in regards to their budgets. Half of the participants expect an additional increase in 2019. What does this mean for SME?

 

Even if their expenses are proportionately smaller, SME should be prepared to have to spend more for their IT in 2019. Big companies tend to have the advantage of having their own IT department and even more often they have the advantage of having an the in-house expertise of a CIO that explains to the manager why his department is needed.

 

Many smaller SME on the other hand know that IT is becoming more and more important in the times of digitization, but don’t necessarily know where to start and where to increase their expenses.

 

IT-Budget

 

My suggestion for managers in SME is therefore to immerse themselves in the subject area to a certain extent. A good source of information is the local chamber of commerce that often provides documents and courses about the topic. The Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg chamber of commerce for example provides a very informative brochure about the topics innovation and technology [brochure in German] on their website for free.

 

Additionally, they offer a whole series of events about the topic: Sprechtage Industrie 4.0 und Digitalisierung [events in German]. In case you are in a different region, you might want to check out the website of your local chamber of commerce. Most probably you can find similar forms of assistance there about the topic IT.

 

Another possibility would be to bring in an expert that can consult with you (even just for a short time). With such an expert by your side, you can discuss if increasing your IT budget would be useful and especially what such an increase might be used for in order to make your company look good in comparison with your competitors.

 

It is usually best to find a local expert that has a good network and can right away suggest local providers if necessary.  If you are close to the black forest Baar region, we would of course be happy if you decided to contact us.

 

A good source for finding other service providers is for example this website: Microsoft Solution Providers.

 

Digitization and IT Organization

Digitization is still an important topic. Many of the participating CIOs indicate that they have achieved a lot, but that there is still a lot to do. They consider the exploration of new business segments difficult.

 

According to the study, people often underestimate how important on one hand the expansion of software development capacities is and on the other hand the importance of having leaders that are well acquainted with the topic digitization. Of course, this has implications for the IT organization. According to the study, it becomes more and more important to use the results of digitization rather than to just implement it.

 

This is where SME can score in my opinion. Companies tend to be smaller and digitization often falls under the responsibility of the CEO.

 

Of course that also means that the first step is dependent on the manager or owner. It also means that all employees need to know how important it is to management when digitization becomes a topic.

 

Once implemented, SME can easily motivate their employees by using workshops and new innovation management methods like for example design thinking and thus change the corporate culture toward employees being more open to new things and, more importantly, openly share new ideas themselves.

 

This can lead to more efficient processes or even open up completely new business segments.

 

Big Data, Sourcing and Cloud

There has been a small increase of bog data projects among participating companies. According to the study, about every fourth company is capable of developing a new business segment using big data. But even in these big companies, collaboration mainly happens with external partners as they don’t have the expertise internally.

 

Cloud usage is basically unchanged. Outsourcing providers are used less while cloud providers are winning more clients. In contrast to big data, here big companies seem to be betting on their own resources in the long run rather than relying on external expertise.

 

Big Data

 

SME are positioned similarly in this regard in my opinion – even if partially because of different reasons. SME don’t have much to do with big data yet, but not unlike big companies, they also rely on external expertise here.

 

I think this will continue to be a good strategy for SME. Big data projects are very particular regarding the expertise that is required – which means that you have to rely on experts. And in a small company, there often just aren’t enough projects to fully utilize an employee’s capacity during the whole year.

 

It therefore makes sense to rely on experts even in the long-run. Outsourcing providers for the cloud are generally less interesting for SME, because normally it simply isn’t worth it. Cloud providers on the other hand are a good solution for SME in the long run.

 

With the right provider, your data is securely accessible from everywhere. And this renders work more mobile and creates the possibility of completing interactive projects between colleagues at different locations.

 

Just a little while ago, we finished implementing Office 365 and Skype for Business for our client THOST Projektmanagement GmbH which led to reliable communication and good collaboration between the almost 20 locations.

 

On our homepage you can find the testimonial of our client.

 

Agile Methods and other Technology Trends

The participating CIOs indicated in the study that in 2017 almost every third project was completed wholly or partially using agile methods. Almost 45 percent of the participating CIOs in the IT trends study complain about difficulties using agile methods.

 

Information about what exactly agile project management entails and which methods are used can be found here.

 

In general, it is more flexible and more dynamic than classic project management and entails an iterative, incremental approach. Because of the advantages of agile project management, I suggest for SME to also use it more.

 

Very good articles about this topic can be found for example in the magazine ProjektMagazin – Agiles Projektmanagement [German website]. In case you want to implement it in your company, we can of course support you in this endeavor. Please get in touch, if you have any questions about this possibility.

 

According to the IT trends study, these are the most important technology trends:

  • Security automation
  • Privacy by design
  • Predictive analytics
  • BYOxSecurity
  • Applications portfolio streamlining &
  • Perimeter security

 

The GDPR that took effect in May was surely a reason why IT security takes more and more center stage. For SME, the GDPR is of course an important topic in 2018 and will continue to have implications in 2019.

 

A good article about the topic with information about the GDPR and how it affects you, can be found here: Social Media & Marketing im Unternehmen mit der neuen DSGVO [article in German].

 

Bottom Line

As you can see, the results of the IT trends study 2018 by Capgemini [German website] is also very interesting for SME.

 

What do you think? We always look forward to your comments – here or on Twitter.

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