Digital transformation of Greek businesses at an early stage, survey shows

The process of digital transformation for businesses in Greece is at an early stage, according to a long-term survey by the Athens University of Economics, led by Professor George I. Doukidis, which records the characteristics of about 100 Greek companies involved in digital transformation initiatives.

According to the results of the survey, Greek companies involved in digital transformation projects are mainly large (two/thirds have a workforce of over 250 workers and 50 million euros annual turnover) and leaders in their industry, with a depth of business history (6/10 have over 15 years of operation), intense outbound activity (7/10 with organised business and outside of Greece), organised digital channels (5/10 effectively utilise e-commerce) and upgraded IT departments.

In the three dimensions of digital transformation (customer experience, business processes, business model) companies are heavily focused on transforming the customer experience and in particular the first levels of “understanding the customer and its behavior”, automating and streamlining the process “and” upgrading the customer experience at contact points “. On the subject of business processes, some early organised efforts are also being made with emphasis on “digitising (and not reorganising) processes”, “assisting (and not enhancing) the work of executives” and “managing through business performance” using original business models. In terms of transforming the business model, there are only organised efforts by multinationals in their “digital international expansion” creating an integrated environment with their subsidiaries and in an efficient supply chain with large B-B clients.

Despite the size and organisational readiness for IT, these Greek companies are in the early stages of digital readiness, as only 6/10 have a clear digital strategy plan that in some cases is related to business strategy, 1/3 have very recently designed this strategy, while only 1/3 can be considered as having gone through the very early stages of digital transformation as presented above. Although 8/10 expects significant “digital” changes and rearrangements in the industry due to this phenomenon, only 1/2 are sufficiently prepared to cope with upcoming sectoral digital changes from existing competitors or new entrants. Also only 2/10 uses relevant methodologies for designing and developing information systems and change management such as design thinking, agile, lean etc. While only 1/10 has a strong element of innovation in the culture of the organisation, either in the products / services or in the business itself.

The problems that companies face are varied. In the first place is the development and finding of human resources with the necessary digital skills, either at the technical level (programmers, security technicians, data analysts etc.) or users in all departments but also the executives who will run the digital transformation projects. In the second place are mentioned intra-company issues / problems related to the approval of the necessary high technology investments, upgrading the IT department.