24 de julio de 2019

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Digital technology is taking hold in small and medium enterprises and a growing number of SMEs have incorporated it into their business strategies.

However, the study on Digital Maturity in Basque SMEs, carried out by Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness, shows that, while the importance of digital technologies for business is increasingly appreciated, this does not mean that SMEs are shifting their traditional business model to a completely new one. The transition towards the new digital business models is happening slowly. According to Orkestra's study, the difficulty and complexity involved in this transition, in addition to its feasibility, means that one in three has not yet begun to move towards this model.

Basque SMEs are making progress in technological digitalisation, especially that related to processes

According to Orkestra, the digital transformation of Basque SMEs is mainly taking place by digitalising existing processes. More than half of these companies mobilise medium to high resources to incorporate new technology. This is notably ‘consistent with the “driving” nature of Basque culture, with a strong product- and process-oriented approach’.

SMEs pay special attention to digitalisation in the areas of the improvement of security conditions, their relationship with customers and the services provided, and marketing and advertising. Aspects related to digital innovation in business models, leadership with a digital vision or mindset and the digital empowerment of workers remain in the background. The study highlights that these aspects need addressing, since the purely technological approach is not enough to meet to the increasingly changing demands in the new digital markets.

The study also pointed out that SMEs should collaborate with third parties through open innovation processes, and use agile methodologies that are suitable to carry out these transformation processes, with a view to ensuring sustainability and business growth. 

They have fairly basic presence in digital markets, and are a long way from taking full advantage of existing markets or creating new ones

The work was conducted in collaboration with ADEGI, CEBEK, SEA and FVEM, and analysed more than 400 companies with between 10 and 250 employees. The companies most linked to retail distribution, and consequently, to the end customer, were more advanced than manufacturing companies. The former were found to have higher levels of innovation and a greater degree of interaction with their customers.

The study on the digital maturity of Basque SMEs concluded that there is a gap in the manufacturing industry, as it presents a lower degree of development, especially in aspects related to leadership and digital strategy. While there is a positive attitude towards digitalisation, the retail distribution sector is moving at a faster pace in terms of digital transformation than the manufacturing sector. This difference is also notable in terms of the levels of digital innovation and the degree of interaction between customers. The findings also showed that the larger the company, the greater the degree of digital maturity.

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