Switzerland: How fit are Swiss SMEs in digitization?

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Lack of know-how slows down digitization

Reasons for the diffident implementation of digital strategies is the lack of know-how of the managing directors about the digital development. This in turn causes them to distance themselves from new technologies. Moreover, companies are still hardly feeling the economic pressure and therefore, follow a wait-and-see approach towards the new technologies. Other reasons are low risk appetite of the managing directors, lack of time, or the postponement of projects due to an imminent follow-up regulation.

Flat hierarchies are important

The wait-and-see approach towards digital transformation can also be due to a conventional management outlook, which is mainly practised by the management of the older generation. Nevertheless, it is precisely the younger generation, the so-called "digital natives", who are well-versed in digital transformation. These employees should be involved more in the decision-making process. However, this requires a flat corporate hierarchy and rapid decision-making. Staufen-Inova sees the greatest need for action here, because companies are still traditionally managed from top to bottom despite some flat hierarchies, and the creative potential of younger employees is hardly tapped.

When should the alarm bells ring?

An indication of a company's insufficient awareness of digital transformation can be, for example, the fact that customer requirements can no longer be met due to outdated business practices, or the suppliers and customers introduce new standards that are no longer compatible with one's own system.

Therefore, the think tank advises companies to monitor the market and to keep track of current trends in the industry. To this end, it is important to exchange ideas with others, for example, in specialist conferences, as well as with "younger" employees, suppliers and customers.


Swiss SMEs have recognised the need for digitization, but there are various factors that hinder implementation. There is great need for action when it comes to the corporate structure. Hierarchical levels must be dismantled here and young, dynamic employees, who are well-versed in the digital world, must be involved in decision-making processes.

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