Digitalisierung Mann mit Daten in der Hand

“Digitalization 2024” Study: A superficial data analysis causes many companies to fly blind strategically 

January 9, 2024 | News Germany, News Switzerland

Six out of ten industrial companies in the German-speaking region admit that the analysis of their data is only scratching the surface at best, according to the alarming results of the latest “Digitalization 2024” study. Yet, as if that were not enough: Because, even they are often unfamiliar with the significance and context of much of the data, many companies do derive parts of their strategies from it. For the study, the Staufen management consultants and AppliediT, a specialist for the real-time analysis of industrial data, surveyed more than 400 industrial companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

“Many companies are faced with a plethora of data and a lack of consistent standards. This makes it difficult for executives and users to derive relevant information and findings from the data”, explains Dr. Michael Feldmeth, who heads the Digital & Industry 4.0 Practice Unit at Staufen. The growing number of different formats and application also makes it difficult to maintain a consistent IT system landscape, resulting in increasingly fragmented data archiving, he continues. 

The most frequently chosen form of data archiving according to the study participants is by far an ERP system (77 percent), followed by databases such as Microsoft SQL Server or PostgreSQL (69 percent) and Excel lists (54 percent). “Programs such as Excel function as spreadsheets and are tailored to a very specific application area and – just like an ERP system – are not ideally suited for data archiving. As a consequence, data silos and limited functions of the individual systems are slowing companies down on their path to digitalization,” warns Industry 4.0 expert Feldmeth. 

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Poor IT compatibility and a lack of analysis expertise have led 61 percent of the companies surveyed to admit that they only see isolated figures from different areas, but know too little about the interconnections between the data. Michael Feldmeth: “The accumulated information is more likely to confuse rather than provide added value or form the basis for precise recommendations for action. In short: Companies cannot see the KPI forest for all of the many numbers.”

The objective: Make hidden interconnections and internal dependencies visible

While many companies neither properly evaluate nor fully understand their data, a good three-quarters of them still incorporate it into defining their future strategy. “This is a risky approach”, says Ignacio Quiñonero Ferrer, CEO of AppliediT. The expert in digitalization recommends a methodical approach that starts by intelligently collating data and then evaluating it statistically: “The current production values of a machine only provide a snapshot. It becomes really interesting once the data from the upstream processes is analyzed alongside the current status quo. This makes hidden interconnections and internal dependencies visible.” 

Ignacio Quiñonero Ferrer 

Managing Director

AppliediT S.L.

In light of increasingly complex products and manufacturing processes, AppliediT Managing Director Ferrer is convinced that there is no way around a professional mathematical analysis: “Companies have to immerse themselves more deeply in the world of data if they want to understand what makes them tick and which modifications will produce which results. Because regardless of whether the issue is supply chains, production processes or HR challenges, often even small modifications and fine adjustments can have a major leverage effect.” 

Industries are now also recognizing the positive effects that a comprehensive view of their own data world may have. For example, 72 percent of the companies concede that a data analysis would increase the efficiency within their organizations. 57 percent expect their lead times to be optimized, 52 percent expect an increase in quality, while 48 percent hope to see a rise in customer satisfaction. 

About the “Digitalization Study 2024” 

For the “Digitalization 2024” study, Staufen AG and AppliediT surveyed 417 industrial companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The survey was conducted in October and November 2023. You can request a copy of the complete study results here:

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