ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe


SMEs in the digitalization process based on foreign models. In order to avoid duplication, such projects should then be managed at a central level. At present, the Czech Republic trails far behind the infrastructure, financial instruments and advisory network of its European counterparts. Nevertheless, this deficit has so far not impacted significantly on the competitiveness of Czech SMEs. It can be assumed that the main reason for this is the current favorable economic situation in which the Czech Republic finds itself. With the gradual slowdown of the Czech economy and the coming recession, SMEs will strive much more intensively for potential competitive advantages, increasing production efficiency and the overall optimization of production and the provision of their services. Thus, in the coming years, the Czech Republic must systematically strive to create a similar advisory-digitalization network that will be able to support the efficiency of Czech SMEs in times of economic recession. The goal must be to create such a system before a recession strikes. Therefore, it can be anticipated that the next economic recession will be a key turning point for the Czech Republic in terms of digitalization. The Czech economy, and especially SMEs, should emerge from this recession even more digitalized than when they entered. The inability of the Czech Republic to build an effective network that would enable such a transformation during the economic contraction and help support it could become a key problem for the domestic economy and the competitiveness of our companies during the future boom. A common mistake in the SME digitalization process is the negative perception of the whole process itself, which is defined as a process to increase efficiency, reduce costs or modernize the interface for communication with the target customer. As a result, the potential of digitalization to create, for example, new business models or services that could not exist in practice until then is neglected. Yet it is these changes that have the greatest potential, above all, to become revolutionary breakthroughs. European surveys show that the most common digitalization project (54% of companies) was updating corporate information technology, i.e. the purchase and installation of new hardware and software. The second most common digitalization project (52% of companies) was the modernization of the user interface (most cases involving the modernization of websites) or systems for communicationwith suppliers. (NB: this category also includes onlinemarketing and work with social networks.) The third most common type of digitalization projects (38% of companies) was the development of ICT expertise – it usually involved the training of employees or company management. A digitalization project focusing on the overall reorganization of the course of work operations only appears in fourth place (29% of companies), despite the fact that this type

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