BITMi survey: IT SMEs draw worrying conclusions about digital policy

September 14, 2023

  • Almost 90 percent of the IT SMEs surveyed said they were “very dissatisfied” or “dissatisfied” with current digital policy.
  • The overwhelming majority express concern about the state and future of Germany’s digital sovereignty.
  • The top 5 digital policy priorities for the second half of the legislative period should be administrative digitisation, expansion of the IT infrastructure, digital education, IT security and securing (IT) skilled labour.

A current survey by the Bundesverband IT-Mittelstand e.V. (BITMi) at the halfway point of the legislative period shows: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the German digital economy are dissatisfied with the state of digital policy and have little confidence that the goals from the coalition agreement and digital strategy will come within reach in the next two years. 60 percent of respondents even said they were “very dissatisfied”, while 29 percent were “dissatisfied”.

Only 7 per cent still trust the “Ampel” government to lead Germany into the top 10 in the European Digital Index (DESI), as envisaged in the coalition agreement.

The assessment of the companies surveyed on the state of digital sovereignty is worrying: 79 percent believe that Germany is dependent on non-European tech companies for digitalisation and 94 percent think that the digital future is currently being shaped outside Europe. Here, too, there is little confidence that things will improve in the near future. Around 95 percent do not see Germany on a good path to reducing digital dependencies.

“The IT SMEs’ extremely critical assessment of digital sovereignty is very telling, because it is actually precisely the SME-driven digital economy itself that is the key to achieving this. The traffic light government is threatening to squander its potential to reduce our dependence on tech giants from the USA and China and to strengthen innovation ‘made in Germany’,” BITMi President Dr Oliver Grün comments on the survey results. “If digitisation continues not to receive the necessary prioritisation in politics, we risk being left even further behind in international competition. Therefore, the IT SME sector is now urgently calling on the government to make a U-turn for the second half of the legislative period,” he further emphasises.

According to the IT SMEs, the highest priority in the second half of the legislative period should be the digitisation of the administration (named by over 80 percent), followed by the expansion of the IT infrastructure (named by over 60 percent), digital education and IT security (both named by over 50 percent) and the securing of (IT) skilled labour (named by about 40 percent).

The BITMi will discuss the survey results with experts from the business community and representatives of the government and opposition on 28 September 2023 at its Capital Forum Digital Economy in Berlin.

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