Digitalisation of print

The benefits of digitalisation

The benefits of digitalisation

It’s clear to anyone working in the print industry that digitalisation is the future. Companies need to digitise simply to survive – an ongoing process that can be uncertain and costly.

Many print providers are therefore asking: are there benefits for me and my business? Will my investment reap returns in the long run?

The Digital Dividend study, conducted by the Handelsblatt Research Institute for Deutsche Telekom in 2018 , contains some very reassuring and illuminating findings for concerned print providers.

The 1,000 mid-sized companies from a range of sectors that were surveyed for the report stated they were already benefiting from digitisation and expecting further dividends.

Success stories

According to the Digital Dividend study:

• 38% of companies were already finding that the benefits of digitalisation are outweighing the costs to date.
• A further 30% said benefits and costs are equal so far.
• Only one in five companies had seen no financial return on their investment in digital so far.
• 51.7% were not expecting short-term benefits and were instead focusing on medium to long-term goals.

Thus although just over half of respondents expected dividends only in the future, more than two-thirds were already breaking even or benefiting from the move to digital.

Why make the change?
When asked about their key drivers and objectives for digital projects, respondents gave the following answers:
• More than half said that higher profits and sales were the main drivers of their digitalisation projects.
• 51.2% said that acquisition of new customers was important.
• 46.7% of SMEs saw digitalisation as an opportunity to enhance their own competitive position.
• 50.7% said the need for faster response to customer enquiries was a driver.
• Just 30.6% were looking to reduce employee costs.

Therefore, companies were viewing digitalisation more as an opportunity to expand and improve, rather than to drive down costs or reduce staffing levels.
Company processes
When asked about the most important effects of digitalisation projects on company processes, respondents gave the following answers:
• 52.4% cited the enhancement of digital business processes.
• 52.1% pointed to product and service quality.
• 37.7% cited development of new digital products and services, or further development of existing products by adding smart components.
This indicates that while the term ‘digitalisation’ may conjure up an image of futuristic new products, it is actually the processes that are most likely to undergo transformation.
Digitalisation cost factors
Digitalisation brings many new costs:
• 40.3% of companies cited reaching out to new customers via new communication channels as a major cost factor.
• 39.9% mentioned security measures against cyber-attacks.
• Recruiting and training new employees and developing digital strategies came further down the priority list.
These figures obviously vary hugely depending on the particular industry and the nature of the digitalisation project in question.
However, to benefit fully from digitalisation, companies should be investing in their employees’ digital know-how so they can apply more complex solutions to a wider range of problems.
What’s at stake
In the next few years, digitalisation will transform all industries worldwide. Those that are ahead of the curve stand to gain hugely.
A separate study carried out in 2015 on behalf of the Federation of German Industries forecast:
• If European industries fail to digitalise their businesses, the potential loss could amount to up to €605 billion by 2025.
• If they succeed, they could gain €1.25 trillion.

Or, to put it more simply, everything will be smart… or it will disappear.