ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe


Digitalization of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the Czech Republic Michal Bokša & Stanislav Šaroch Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the core of the European and Czech economy. With the advent of new technologies and revolutionary concepts such as Industry 4.0, Smart Factories, the Internet of Things and Cloud computing, a need has arisen to ensure the effective digitalization of said enterprises. Failure to adapt to these recent trends would reduce the efficiency and competitiveness of the businesses. Therefore, the goal of the Czech Republic must be to ensure that SMEs have easy access to digitalization processes so that these processes are accessible and at the same time that a general awareness of them circulates among SMEs. Although the Czech Republic has managed to build several successful research centers in recent years, their establishment and development is highly decentralized and sometimes unsystematic. For many SMEs, a disparate network for research and innovation support can mean very unequal access to digitalization centers and consultation.The CzechRepublic needs to create and build amore structured and systematic form of support for the digitalization of SMEs. Instead of building a completely new support network, it would be appropriate to build on existing regional innovation centers (Innovation Centers, Technology Centers, BICs, etc.) and expand their portfolio centrally with digitalization programs. In addition to advisory activities, the centers should also aim to further promote digitalization through organized workshops, demonstration events and training courses. The effort should also be to involve and connect as many local actors as possible (state and public institutions, non-profit sector, chambers of commerce and private sector) because, in the case of digital transformation, such connection becomes an important innovation multiplier. A key aspect in the digitalization of SMEs is, above all, the degree of standardization. This very lack of digital standardization templates and the issues related to the financial return of SMEs is what hampers digitalization. The Czech Republic should therefore follow the German example and create easily transferable e-standardization templates for different sectors, which are tailored to companies according to their field. A fully digitalized economy can only be created if individual digitalization processes are interconnected. To this end, the Czech Republic should create various platforms for financing or co-financing

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