There is a tangible sense of optimism in the German-speaking countries at the moment, as DSAG members’ IT budgets are seeing an increase of almost 5 percent, which is over 3 percent more than in 2016. That figure is even more impressive in Austria, where IT investment increases have doubled to over 8 percent compared to 2016.
Only Switzerland is making cuts (-2 percent). However, members there are being anything but hesitant when it comes to SAP expenditure, which is up by more than 3 percent, although that is a smaller increase than in the previous year (2016: almost 6 percent).
In DACH countries, SAP budgets are up by nearly 6 percent, the same increase compared to 2016. In Austria, they are up by 2 percentage points to over 6 percent.
Digital transformation clearly embedded in budgets
In addition to the general figures, this year the DSAG investment survey specifically focused on member companies’ expenditure on digitalization, and found that over 60 percent of funds in German-speaking countries are being allocated to digital transformation.
In Switzerland, that figure is 70 percent, once again reflecting the country’s position as a leader of innovation.
The question as to whether members are investing in existing business processes or in new business models in terms of digitalization yielded conclusive findings. Over 50 percent of respondents think that investments in existing business processes relating to digital transformation are “important” or “very important”.
“A good half of the DSAG members surveyed believe that you can turn something good into something even better and even more sophisticated through digitalization. They are investing in existing business processes and digitalizing them,” says DSAG Chairman Marco Lenck. Just over 40 percent of respondents see these investments as of medium importance.
Trade and service sectors leading the way
There has been a slight downturn in terms of investments in new business models as part of digital transformation. 36 percent of respondents see investments in new business models as “important” or “very important”.
That figure was the same in the 2016 survey. Just under a third are still adopting a traditional approach and don’t believe that investing in digitalization is so important. There is a marked difference, however, between different sectors of the economy.
17 percent of companies in the trade and services sectors believe that investing in new business models is “very important” compared with 10 percent of manufacturing companies. “This is a significant difference,” says Marco Lenck. “
The trade and services sectors are under pressure. For a start, they are noticing a change in consumers’ user behavior. To ensure that they are still relevant in tomorrow’s market they need to make headway with digitalization,” the DSAG Chairman continues.
The crucial question: stick with Business Suite or switch to S/4HANA?
For over half of the DSAG members in German-speaking countries, investing in traditional products such as Business Suite continues to be seen as “important”.
However, 16 percent of respondents are planning to invest heavily in S/4. Nevertheless, this is not viewed as a real alternative to traditional ERP systems by 50 percent of those surveyed. Austrian DSAG members share these reservations.
Swiss members, on the other hand, are once again adopting a more progressive approach, with more than a fifth of them investing heavily in S/4.
In response to the question regarding members’ intentions to switch from Business Suite to S/4, the results were as follows: in German-speaking countries, 2 percent of respondents are already using S/4.
Switzerland and Austria, where 8 percent of members are using it, are edging ahead in terms of innovation. It is expected that a third of DSAG members will have made the switch in the next three years.
Another third will stick with Business Suite in the longer term.
Marco Lenck comments: “The question as to whether to switch is a crucial one for companies. A third of DSAG members surveyed have still not made their minds up and remain undecided. This is a clear signal for DSAG and SAP that they need to further develop existing systems and provide more information.”
Importance of SAP cloud solutions
DSAG members traditionally take a conservative approach when it comes to the cloud. Main investments are rarely made in this area. The medium-priority investments are Success Factors, Hybris, Ariba, the Hana Cloud Platform (HCP), and Concur.
The HCP is in higher demand in Austria than in neighboring countries, but the product is also slowly gathering pace in the other German-speaking counties.
“Digitalization within the companies is being driven by investments in new business models. Planned expenditure on the Hana Cloud Platform also goes hand in hand with that.”, says Lenck.
Some companies in particular are modelling company-wide processes with it and hence integrating customers and business partners even better. DSAG members are better informed and are therefore able to specifically deploy new solutions,” concludes Marco Lenck.