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Research in Germany: What will change for businesses over the next year?
Professor Nils Madeja: The coronavirus crisis has left both manufacturing SMEs and many customers feeling unsure about the future. The supply chains of many businesses, which are often international, have been disrupted and demand has plummeted. Many customers have been shying away from making major purchases or investments. Business activities have changed drastically and in part because of travel restrictions.
It is quite possible that the crisis will act as a catalyst for digital transformation.
It is a positive change that the majority of businesses are now communicating with customers and doing business in digital formats, too. This increases efficiency because less time and money are being spent on business travel. It is an important step forward that customers and external partners – and universities and students, too, by the way – now have adopted telepresence formats where face-to-face encounters had been the norm.
However, many businesses are also thinking about life after the end of this crisis and asking questions such as 'How will we make a living in the future?' I believe that digital transformation is an integral part of the answer to this question.
We have seen very clearly that digital pure players, that is to say businesses that were launched as purely digital companies, are emerging as the big winners in the crisis. These players include e-commerce platforms, streaming services and online platform operators. Online training providers are also seeing a spike in turnover.
Our DIGIMARI research initiative aims to find out how manufacturing SMEs in Germany and Japan can develop individual digital business models.
DIGIMARI is open to new cooperation partners and potential sponsors who would like to work with us to delve into this important topic. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.
Research in Germany: Thank you for this interview, Professor Madeja.
University of Applied Sciences Mittelhessen
THM Business School
Prof. Dr Nils Madeja
+49 641 309-2763