Businesses and digitalisation: 80% have a website and 70.2% have a social channel, and there is a clear desire to continue investing in technological innovation.

These are some of the factors that emerge from a report drawn up as part of a project by Unioncamere Veneto and the Veneto Region.

Economy - published on 14 January 2022
Source: press office Unioncamere Veneto
A strong vocation for digitalisation and technological innovation and investment in these sectors, also thanks to the use of funds made available by the Chambers of Commerce.
This is one of the main points that emerged from the report produced by Unioncamere del Veneto in collaboration with the PIDs of the chamber system and with the contribution of
the Veneto Region within the framework of the SME 2021 Convention “Programme of information to Veneto SMEs on economic, regional and European policies for entrepreneurial development”.
The report is one of the actions of the convention and describes and analyses the processes of adoption of digital technologies related in particular to Industry 4.0 in Veneto SMEs. The study was
carried out by the Department of Economic and Business Sciences “Marco Fanno” of the University of Padua, with the involvement of the Digital Enterprise Points of the Veneto Chambers of
The 188 companies interviewed that fully answered the questionnaire were those that participated in calls for proposals from the Chambers of Commerce in 2020 or 2021 or benefited from
the relevant funding. They are small manufacturing and service companies, with an average of 16.6 total employees and 11.9 employees in production.
Of this sample, only 3.2% have no technology at all, while 88% say they have a website and a further 70% have opened a social profile. And 29% have an e-commerce platform. The report shows that 50%
of the companies surveyed have invested in Industry 4.0 (by adopting at least one technology). Cloud technologies (61.5%) represent, for the companies surveyed, the main 4.0 investment,
followed by advanced Robotics (25.3%), Big data and Cybersecurity (23.1%) and value chain integration systems (22.0%).
In particular, compared to the 2020 survey, there has been a strong increase in the adoption of digital security technologies, which were the least adopted in 2020 (11.6%). Investment in
Industry 4.0 technologies is therefore focused on improving the production process and relationships along the value chain, thanks also to Big Data analysis, without neglecting the importance of
digital security.
With regard to public funding, almost half (49.2%) of the companies surveyed said that they use it, 30.2% rarely and only 13.5% always use it. There are also 4.8% who have never
applied for public funding and 2.4% who are undecided. Of the 65.2% of enterprises that participated in the Chambers of Commerce digitisation calls, 73.3% have already benefited from contributions.
21.0% of companies said they would be interested in investing regardless of the availability of funding, a percentage that has decreased compared to 2020 (30.1%), while over 45% of companies (in
line with the 2020 figure) said they would only invest if funding was available. By contrast, the proportion of undecided companies (34.1%) increased compared to 2020 (22.4%).
The minimum (average) amount guaranteed by financing that would encourage companies to invest is around €31,000 (€57,000 in 2020) or 49% of the total investment (41% in 2020). The main difficulties
reported by adopting companies concern the length of the implementation time (39.4%), unlike in 2020 when it was financial resources (54.4%) that represented the most important obstacle, this time
occupying second place, but with a much lower percentage (33.8%).
The percentage of companies complaining of a lack of internal skills remained unchanged (22.5%% in 2021; 23.5% in 2020). The percentage of companies that find it difficult to find professionals has
decreased (33.8% in 2021; 39.7% in 2020), as has the negative impact of the lack of broadband (21.1% in 2021; 32.4% in 2020).
From the analysis carried out, the strategic dimension that the SMEs in Veneto analysed have developed for the investment and management of the digital transformation process has
clearly emerged, not only the larger companies, but also the medium-small ones. This shows that there is a progressive recognition of the role that digital technologies and Industry 4.0 can give to
the competitive advantage of companies. At the same time, the investment process is incremental, allowing critical issues such as those related to the pandemic to be overcome more smoothly.
As it emerged from the focus groups, the companies, precisely during the pandemic and post-pandemic period, benefited from the investments previously made in digital technologies and Industry
, which guaranteed the company the possibility not only to continue operating in a radically changed scenario but also to improve its products/services. In comparison with the results
present at Veneto and national level (source ISTAT 2020) it emerges that the situation of the analysed companies shows higher levels of digital investment.
The President of Unioncamere Veneto, Mario Pozza, commented on the results as follows: – they are confirmation of the vocation of our companies to invest in innovation and
technology, strategic factors for being competitive in the current economic system. The pandemic emergency has accelerated the need to adapt quickly to digitalisation processes and our companies
have shown that they are reactive and ready to invest. In this context, as the study shows, the role of the Chambers of Commerce in terms of financing has been fundamental and we will continue to
support companies in this path of innovation.

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