Digitization and Competitiveness in SMEs

The research team “Digitization and Competitiveness in SMEs” examines selected issues in the context of SME research. Three general topics lie at the center of the research activities:

Innovation and change through networks

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing major challenges: How can they innovate and change in increasingly complex technical environments while remaining competitive with large corporations? Often, SMEs can only face these challenges in collaboration with other organizations. They have different forms of organization at their disposal: bilateral agreements, strategic alliances, temporary and permanent networks. Which forms are suitable in which situation? How can you be shaped to drive innovation and change? The ifm Mannheim investigates these and similar questions in empirical studies.

Emergence and distribution of management know-how

With the introduction of modern management concepts – such as Lean Management or Blue Ocean Strategy – often high expectations are linked: A reduction of lead times or the identification of new growth areas are typical goals that are sought with the implementation. As a result, a large number of management concepts have been developed and disseminated in recent decades. But what makes management concepts successful? The ifm Mannheim examines a variety of management concepts that are simultaneously discussed in the literature, promoted by consultants and used by companies.

Competitiveness of German IT-businesses

Software users are increasingly demanding easy-to-use software. This poses new challenges for small and medium-sized IT companies in Germany. Many have a sound technical know-how, but they have only limited knowledge to systematically improve the usability. As a result, they lag behind in international competition. How can small and medium-sized IT companies in Germany increase their competitiveness? Ifm Mannheim investigates obstacles and opportunities for spreading usability practices in SMEs, develops strategies for disseminating this know-how and actively participates in initiatives to implement these strategies.

Read More