A recent Bitkom study of 553 companies with 100 or more employees shows a positive picture of the digitization status in German industry. According to it, 24% of all machines are already networked. For around half (54%) of all respondents, 20% to just shy of 50% of their systems have Internet connectivity, with only 6% of the respondents indicating that their systems are already better equipped. While 55% said they were pursuing an overall digital transformation strategy, 42% are upgrading parts of their business and 49% are already using Industry 4.0-specific applications.
Nevertheless, the companies are cautious in their implementation: On average, they plan to invest 5% of sales in the development of smart, networked technologies in the current year. It is also not surprising that 72% of respondents see the associated high costs as a major obstacle to a more consistent push for digitization, even more than data protection requirements (58%), data security (56%), and a shortage of skilled workers (49%). A majority of 86% choose to have an overall strategy developed by their own employees (86%), while 40% are looking for cooperation with medium-sized or large IT companies. Collaboration with startups is only up to 2%. In another Bitkom survey from the beginning of the year, 65% of respondents even completely ignore cooperation with start-up companies.