How can you measure the digitization of an economy? The data service provider Euler Hermes uses five criteria in its Enabling Digitalization Index. Germany scores well in the current ranking. That shows: We can digitize! Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done. This applies to the economy and society as well as to the printing industry.
Despite all the prophecies of doom, digitization in Germany is no longer a #newterritory. The Federal Republic of Germany regularly finishes at the top of the global rankings – in the current study, for example, it came in third place. With 115 countries surveyed, this is a remarkable achievement; only the USA and the Netherlands are further ahead. The Euler Hermes Enabling Digitalization Index (EDI) measures the ability and agility of countries to support digital companies and enable traditional firms to participate in digitalization. These characteristics are assessed on the basis of five core criteria:
A legally secure and business-friendly environment makes it easier to do business: Financing, investments and start-ups are facilitated by simple yet stable rules. Digitagility”, i.e. mobility in a digitized world, is thus facilitated.
What is the state of a location’s wealth of knowledge and research power? Statistics on higher education and innovative strength are used as indicators for this factor. Only where knowledge is gained, shared and applied can new ideas emerge.
- Degree of networking
This factor examines how well a country is connected to the Internet. What percentage of the population uses the World Wide Web, how mobile-friendly is the network, and are there secure servers on site? Clearly, digitization cannot be managed from a dead zone.
Successful digitization is not possible without good analog structures. Digitization is also driven forward on the railways, on the highway and in the warehouse. Functioning logistics are what make locations attractive for digitally minded companies.
- Market Power
Based on how many people live in a country, what can and what do they want to spend? Innovation needs investment – and the larger and more solvent the potential clientele, the better the potential for successful digital business models.
A look at the criteria shows that Germany offers a real locational advantage. Even those who think that the Federal Republic is lagging behind in digitization will have to acknowledge that according to the EDI criteria, the country can excel. After all, the index measures how well the framework conditions in a country are designed for digitization – and purposely refrains from measuring what is ultimately made of the potential. After all, digitization is not just a process that is supported by good conditions and a stable economy. The people behind it are crucial. We need courageous entrepreneurs, intrepid bosses and visionary founders who are committed to the digital idea.
There are many great examples of this in the print industry, which show that our industry is a driver of digitization: Onlineprint not only adapts to developments, but drives them forward. Modern print service providers deliver smart ideas, for example for cloud solutions and web stores. The industry also generates differentiated and practical use cases for automation through numerous highly specialized tasks. Onlineprint is thus contributing to the further development of this increasingly important technology. Another future trend in online printing is mass customization, which would be inconceivable without digitization. Here, the printing industry is in a position to constructively accompany the social trend towards individualization.
To those who are still hesitant, I say: take heart! The chance of emerging from the transformation as a winner is much greater if you actively shape the development rather than just following suit. Only those companies that align their processes and, above all, their mindset to change today will have a head start later on. Transformation is a process that does not simply end at some point, but is an ongoing management task. Smart entrepreneurs prove every day that the print industry is up to this challenge.
One thing must not be forgotten despite all the euphoria: The major topics of digitization are not self-propelling. The digital transformation can inspire or paralyze processes. This applies to society as well as to the economy or individual industries. Cognitive Load Theory states that our brain memory is at some point full and we need a break before we can continue to learn new things. So when we work with technologies and concepts that we have to learn to understand on the side, we get fatigued more quickly. Long Zoom conferences are also exhausting because we have to subconsciously adapt to unfamiliar conditions compared to analog meetings.