The digital transformation of EU business and society presents enormous growth potential for Europe. European industry can build on its strengths in advanced digital technologies and its strong presence in traditional sectors to seize the range of opportunities that technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, advanced manufacturing, robotics, 3D printing, blockchain technologies and artificial intelligence offer. This will enable our industry to capture a share in the emerging markets for the products and services of the future.
Digital transformation is characterised by a fusion of advanced technologies and the integration of physical and digital systems, the predominance of innovative business models and new processes, and the creation of smart products and services.
Currently, EU businesses are not taking full advantage of these advanced technologies or the innovative business models offered by the collaborative economy. The state of the digitisation of industry varies across sectors, particularly between high-tech and more traditional areas, and also between EU countries and regions. There are also large disparities between large companies and SMEs.
Big data and digital platforms have grown dramatically over the past decade and are radically transforming every industry. The large volumes of data generated from equipment, machines and people provide significant opportunities for innovation, new business models, and smart products and services. They represent the next frontier for European businesses to drive industrial leadership, growth and great value for society.
Digital Skills are a major priority for Europe. The demand from EU industry and enterprises for new types of skills highlights the need to reskill and reemploy the redundant workforce. The widening digital skills gap will have an impact on the ability of EU businesses and governments to benefit from the opportunities of digitalisation.
Cities and regions are major enablers of digital transformation in Europe. They orchestrate the development of vibrant innovation ecosystems by bringing together local resources and mobilising the participation of stakeholders. Decision-makers in the public and private sectors and civil society, all need to understand the social and economic implications of advanced technologies and become leaders of the change they wish to see in their territories. The 'Digital Cities Challenge' is the latest Commission initiative that will help cities achieve their digital transformation ambitions.
ICT standardisation and interoperability are a precondition for the uptake of digital innovations. The challenge is to develop and ensure the adoption of European standards that ensure compatibility between systems and guarantee the competitiveness of European industry and the openness of ICT markets.
The Digital Transformation Monitor identifies key trends in digital transformation and measures progress made at national and sector-specific level. It provides statistical and factual evidence on the pace of digital transformation in particular sectors and in all EU countries. It also analyses major national policy initiatives and supports policy development. The annual Digital Transformation Scoreboard measures progress on digital transformation in EU countries and proposed country-specific policy recommendations. Various monitoring tools map and assess the EU’s performance in other innovation areas.
The Watify awareness campaign aims to boost technological transformation through digitisation and the uptake of advanced technologies, especially key enabling technologies. It will also stimulate policy makers to work together with local businesses and other regions to launch and implement joint investment projects, notably in the framework of the Smart Specialisation Platform on Industrial Modernisation.
The smart use of ICT by companies in both manufacturing and services is a critical factor for success in innovation, competitiveness and growth. As large companies are moving to exploit the advantages offered by ICT, smaller companies have to follow suit or risk being left out of digital supply chains. A series of demonstration actions in this area has had very positive initial results.
The Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship was a policy think tank that brought together thought leaders from business, academia and politics in the area of digital transformation and entrepreneurship. It advised the European Commission on policy issues and actions to foster digital transformation, and promoted the development of policy by EU countries at national and regional level. The Strategic Policy Forum drew up several reports on how to accelerate the digital transformation of European industry and enterprises.
The Member States Board on Digital Entrepreneurship assists the Commission in shaping the EU’s vision, and short and long-term strategy on digital entrepreneurship. By implementing this strategy, it aims to ensure that its actions are coherent and coordinated, and that European, national, and regional policies work well together to maximise their impact.