Data is the treasure trove of each company, and often it’s still buried

Japanese Students

Digital transformation is challenging Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the field of mechanical and electrical engineering in Germany and Japan. The DIGIMARI initiative uses benchmarking to learn from the best and shares the results with SMEs to help them develop new business models for digital production.

Year after year, hundreds of inquiries from companies with more or less innovative digital business models piled up on his desk: Nils Madeja, professor at TH Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences for the subject Digital Business since 2018, used to work as a venture capital investor and knows that 'engineering skills alone are no longer sufficient to be successful today'.

A company’s own data base is its treasure trove

Digital change in production increasingly turns services, production and traditional business models upside down, even in conventional industries such as mechanical and electrical engineering. 'The decisive factor for success or failure today is the skill to collect, process, aggregate and analyse data, and to build knowledge. A company’s own database is its new treasure trove.'

Everybody is driving digital change

It is us who are driving this development ourselves. Most of us listen to music via streaming services and fewer and fewer young people want to own their own car and search for a parking space for hours every evening. In the past, we used to focus on property. Today, we focus on our needs: We don’t want to own music, we want to listen to it. Increasingly, we only pay for the proper use of a good. Whether as a flat-rate service, on demand or pay-per-use. This applies both to the private and business spheres.

Digital change often requires fresh capital

This has become a growing concern for many SMEs in highly developed industrialised nations like Germany or Japan for some time. Not every entrepreneur is successful in turning their business model upside down and in offering the temporary use of their goods, such as providing printing machines as a service instead of selling them as a whole. And Nils Madeja knows that coming up with a new model is not the only challenge: 'Companies often need fresh capital to implement new models in order to finance the installed basis of equipment, machines and plants if they want to offer their use as a service.'

DIGIMARI helps analysing the right business data

Best practice examples are rare, as is reliable research data on the digital business of high-tech SMEs. Nils Madeja wants to change this. Together with other researchers, developers and decision-makers from Hessen and Japan, he recently launched the international initiative DIGIMARI to obtain structured new insight and practical solutions for digital change in production. 

DIGIMARI relies on benchmarking to learn from the best

'We want to use practical examples to show how companies can conduct business on the basis of data and information goods and services, even if they have mainly subsisted on the sale of their products, hardware, equipment and facilities up to now', Professor Nils Madeja, TH Mittelhessen.

Learn more about DIGIMARI.

Read the full interview with DIGIMARI’s Nils Madeja.