Danish small businesses lagging behind in digitisation

Lack of digital ambition could cost jobs, worries DI

The managers and owners of small and medium-sized Danish enterprises (SMEs) are not necessarily interested in digitisation.

That is the conclusion of a survey conducted by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) on the barriers to digital growth in SMEs. The survey was based on interviews with 15 businesses from all industries across Denmark.

“Some of the business executives we interviewed do not believe that there is any danger that they will be outmatched,” said DI Digital senior consultant Christian Hannibal.  “They do not feel that they have the time or resources to identify their options and they do not necessarily have any wish to grow their business.”

Hannibal said that that attitude would make it “difficult to generate new jobs in existing enterprises”.

Help available
DI has produced a publication that provides tips for SMEs on how to get started on digitisation and automation.

“The most important tip is to be ready to find inspiration both externally and among your employees and to involve members of the board who have knowledge about digitisation and automation,” said Hannibal.

DI has also set up a digital mentor corps with different digitisation and automation skills to provide company executives with one-to-one feedback on digital requirements.

Younger companies more willing
Among them is Mette Nikander, the managing director of the IT security company C-cure. She said that businesses with younger managers or a young board are much more likely to be willing to tackle digitisation.

“They are hungrier, have a greater belief that it can be done and are more likely to seek out new knowledge and ideas,” she said.

“What deters some businesses from increasing their efforts is that they have never met anyone who is in the process of digitisation. You hear objections like: ‘it is too expense’, ‘it is too difficult’, ‘we don’t have the time’, ‘it cannot be done in our field’. But these are just bad excuses. Those who feel that they are losing competitiveness somehow find that they are able to get moving.”