by Klaus Bürg, Managing Director & General Manager, AWS DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland)
The findings of our Reinventing Without A Roadmap Survey revealed many intriguing figures. I wanted to share a few of my personal highlights with you:
The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impact how we work, live, and plan for the future. Throughout the last 18 months, we’ve each had our own experiences, drew conclusions from them, and learned new lessons.
AWS’s priority, especially in such uncertain times, has always been to put our customers first, stay connected, and discuss how we could help them as they navigate business challenges in uncertain times. These conversations provide us with a range of perspectives about what our customers have on top of their agenda, and I personally take away many insights from these meetings. As a customer obsessed company, we rely on both anecdotal evidence through conversations as well as data to make informed decisions about how we best serve our customers.
We recently surveyed 10,000 senior IT and business decision-makers in enterprises across five countries, including 2,000 from Germany. Our goal was to understand how they managed to keep reinventing their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic without a clear roadmap for what was going to happen next. This allowed us to get some insights into how they expect their organization to build on that experience and keep growing in the post-pandemic environment. Some of the findings were surprising, while others were a confirmation of existing assumptions:
German organizations encountered some challenges, they never experienced before
It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a rapid business change all over the world, including Germany. Many customers were confronted with a sudden wave of internal and external - never before seen - challenges in a variety of areas. We now know, thanks to the survey, that business transformation (92%), meeting new customer demands (89%), and managing employee experience (79%) are some of the key challenges decision makers in German organizations have encountered.
As a result, many were forced to rethink their business strategies in order to adapt to the new circumstances, paving the way for new revenue streams and working setups/styles. More than half (52%) of the participating organizations in Germany stated that they have changed their business strategies because of the pandemic, while 92% made some adjustments to it. For example, the pandemic has caused firms in Germany’s manufacturing sector to speed up their digital transformation initiatives by two years and two months, compared to two years and nine months in financial services and two years and ten months in the telecommunications industry.
Adapting at speed
Many things have been determined by the passage of time. How quickly can we adapt to our new circumstances, transform our business, and innovate? With the help of the cloud, German organizations were able to rapidly adapt to the new market conditions. The survey shows that cloud computing services have allowed 59% of German businesses to pivot and innovate new services and/or products more quickly, while 55% have been able to reduce their infrastructure costs. But it’s the 57% who said that their business depends on the cloud which was fascinating. This is a number that affects the existence and core of an entire company – and the people behind it – and goes far beyond change and innovation.
Our customers have always been and will continue to be our first priority. We aspire to be the most customer-centric organization in the world, and to do so, we want to understand what opportunities we can offer to our customers to help them thrive in their businesses. Through the survey we found out that 46% of the participating business decision makers are now actively using their digital transformation initiatives to improve productivity and collaboration, while 44% use it for enhanced customer experience and 43% use it to upskill their employees.
This gives me confidence to believe that the AWS cloud provides German organizations with all the tools they need in order to focus entirely on their customers and their business, without having to worry about what’s going on in the “technical backend”.
Optimistic about the future
There seems to be an underlining sense of confidence and optimism for the year ahead amongst most of the German organizations we spoke to. Almost nine in ten (87%) decision makers expect their business to grow in the next 12 months. To be more specific, German healthcare organizations estimate a 30% increase in revenue, whereas German manufacturing enterprises estimate a 9.4% increase. Even more important to note is that, because of the rapid transformation that took place in 2020, companies that have realized their ability to pivot and change are now more resilient than ever before. More over half (58%) of the participating business decision makers are confident that their organization is now agile and can easily change or adapt to suit market or societal shifts while 64% said they now have a clear strategy in place to seize the opportunities and grow. Additionally, 40% said that cloud computing has helped them improve overall corporate IT security measures.
The lessons learned
I am a firm believer that the lessons learned from the pandemic will assist German companies in overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities in the future. One of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic, according to 57% of the respondents, is the importance of more agile working practices, while 55% pointed out the importance of better collaboration and getting closer to customers.
Businesses will continue to transform in the future, particularly if boosting overall business performance remains the primary goal of digital transformation initiatives. However, to benefit from this holistically, organizations need to address internal challenges and positively shift mindsets. For German businesses, culture presents a key challenge in their digital transformation initiatives, with just under half of decision makers highlighting a certain unwillingness of employees to change (48%), a lack of understanding of how to link business problems with technical solutions (47%), and a lack of skills that will hold them back (42%).
Cloud as the main driver for transformation
The pandemic forced German organizations to reinvent their business strategies and to adapt quickly to the new circumstances. Many German organizations used the cloud for the first time (41%), while nearly two-thirds (61%) took advantage of the opportunity to deploy new cloud services and tools. As a result, a new set of enterprises has emerged out of the pandemic, which is more confident about responding to change, and is doing this with a more agile, secure, resilient and customer-centric approach. Powered by a shift towards the cloud during the course of the pandemic, it has accelerated anyway planned digital transformation programs and given businesses vital agility and the ability to innovate.
There is no going back now - 55% of the business decision makers intend to adopt technologies like cloud computing in the long-term. With Germany’s economy predicted to grow by 3.4% in 2021 by the European Commission and our participating organizations’ expected revenue growth of 20.8%, the future looks bright. These figures, in my opinion, are a great place to start, and we see it as a catalyst that German companies are using cloud technologies as the primary driver of their transformation journey.
About the author
Managing Director & General Manager, AWS DACH region
Klaus Bürg was appointed as the Managing Director & General Manager for AWS DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) in July 2018. Since then, he has embarked on a mission to accelerate the region’s digital development, supporting and fueling the growth by partnering with organizations to advance their innovation, time to market, competitive differentiation and business value creation, leveraging AWS cloud.