The SME 4.0 IT Expertise Center, which opened in March in Berlin, will also have a presence at this year's CEBIT.
The Center is a development initiative under the German government's "SME 4.0" program. It helps small and mid-sized IT companies find partners and create innovative digitization solutions, its overarching objective being to strengthen small and mid-sized IT companies' position as enablers of digital transformation and providers of solutions "by SMEs for SMEs".
The SME 4.0 IT Expertise Center is led by Germany's Federal Association of SME IT Companies (BITMi) and operated in partnership with Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences.
"We and our partners are committed to the Expertise Center as a way of fostering the digitization and internationalization of Germany's SME IT sector," explained BITMi President Oliver Grün.
On the CEBIT Wednesday (13 June), starting at 1 p.m. at the Convention Center, the SME 4.0 IT Expertise Center will stage a conference for all CEBIT visitors from SMEs in the IT industry who want to learn more about how the Center can assist them or would like to contribute their own concrete ideas.
"We do digital" is the name of an initiative run by Germany's chambers of commerce and industry that encourages SMEs with up to 500 employees to share their digital success stories. Its ultimate objective is to encourage smaller companies to develop their own digital strategies and thereby contribute to Germany's digital transformation.
To do this, the initiative will identify and present as many best-practice examples as possible, especially those that have not yet received any public exposure.
Companies wishing to participate can register until 14 May at this website: www.wedodigital.de. An independent jury will select the winners, who will then receive their prizes on the d!campus stage at CEBIT on Tuesday, 12 June.
The CEBIT Friday (15 June) will feature a comprehensive program of events for SMEs dubbed "Practical approaches to digitization for SMEs" on the Center Stage in Hall 17. From 10.30 a.m. to
3 p.m., 10 speed presentations by industry experts will explore digitalized workplaces and their impact on employee productivity. Other key topics include profit-driven, "digitally enhanced" business models and the use of innovative digital products and services to add value to the customer experience.
During the speed presentation program, experts will be on hand at several meeting points to advise attendees on their specific digitization plans. At each meeting point, attendees can also share their own experiences and expertise with like-minded professionals.
CEBIT will feature an array of startups with new solutions for SMEs. Blitz + Donner GmbH's "WerkerApp" (by Jenni Schwanenberg and her team) is a case in point. The app connects tradespeople on construction sites with back-office functionality, enabling them to capture key on-site information, such as documentation, photos and status updates. It is easy to use and does not require expensive training or hardware.
Most German SMEs are still hesitant when it comes to developing and implementing digital strategies. According to a study by KfW Research, only 26% of German SMEs are actively investing in digitizing their processes, products and services.
Looking at those who are investing, the bulk of the projects relate to IT structures (54% of respondents) and digitization of customer and supplier contacts (52%). Next are investment in building up technical expertise (38%) and workflow reorganization (29%).
CEBIT 2018 will feature a wealth of displays and events that provide information on the prerequisites and measures needed for digital transformation as well as the resulting opportunities and benefits. A key information source for SMEs planning to invest in digital technologies will be the Digital Business & Administration display area in halls 14 to 17. There, users will find everything they need to futureproof and digitize their commercial and administrative processes. That's solutions for everything from data management and cloud applications to customer-centricity to Workplace 4.0. Speakers on two stages will be inspiring visitors as to how they can leverage new digital office concepts to digitize a whole range of business processes.
Halls 12 and 13 will feature the essential technologies SMEs need to build their digital infrastructure, optimize their communications, set up and maintain their data centers and ensure IT security.
Many of the keynote themes of this year's CEBIT are also highly relevant to SMEs: Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Security, Blockchain, Drones & Unmanned Systems, Future Mobility and Human Robotics. Detailed coverage of each keynote theme will be provided by both the company exhibits and the expert lectures on the various d!talk stages.